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    Transcripts from the Deeper Dating Podcast

  • A Life-Changing Exercise for Everyone Who Has Lost A Loved One [EP097]
    I’m very excited to share a powerful and transformational process for anyone who has lost a loved one, and to share some very personal stories about my own experiences with this exercise in my own life. This process is truly life-changing!

    Table of Contents

    A Life-Changing Exercise for Everyone Who Has Lost A Loved One

    Wisdom from Dr. Jamie Turndorf’s book, Love Never Dies: How to Reconnect and Make Peace with the Deceased

    In this episode, I’m excited to bring you a life-changing exercise for anyone who has lost a loved one, so stay tuned to this episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.

    Hello, everybody, and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist, author of the book Deeper Dating, and Cofounder of DeeperDating.com, which is a site to help single people meet online in a way that’s respectful, kind and inspiring. Today, I’m going to be talking about a powerful process, a life-changing exercise for anyone who has lost a loved one. This week and every week, I’m going to share with you the greatest tools that I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing, and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love, and the skills of love are the greatest skills of all for a happy life.

    If you want to learn more about the deeper dating path to real intimacy, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com. If you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get free gifts and learn a lot more about how to use these ideas to transform your own intimacy journey. You’ll also find a complete transcript of every episode. I also want to say that everything I’m going to be sharing is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment, and if you’re experiencing any serious psychological or psychiatric conditions or symptoms, please seek professional help. Finally, if you like what you’re learning here, I would so appreciate it if you could subscribe and leave me a review. Thank you and let’s jump in.

    Many of us have lost people we love. Many of us are still suffering from those losses, and maybe even feel blocked in their ability to move on. Many of us might not feel blocked in our ability to move on, but might not have had the healing that we could potentially have with someone even after they pass. I think the greatest secret to a love-filled life is cherishing the relationships that we have already. That includes relationships with people who have passed. Today, I want to share a simple but profoundly healing exercise for anyone who’s lost a loved one.

    Until wounds are healed, we will continue to be limited in terms of our capacity to find a new relationship.CLICK TO TWEETI’ve often heard people say that they can feel the presence of loved ones who have died. I have to admit that usually, I have felt a pang of envy when I heard those words. This has happened to me. I have experienced it, but I haven’t usually experienced it when I’ve lost people I love and treasure. For me, when I’ve lost a loved one, not in all cases but in most cases, it’s like the door just shuts. It doesn’t shut on my grief, but it shuts on my sense of access to that relationship. After reading Love Never Dies: How to Reconnect and Make Peace with the Deceased by Dr. Jamie Turndorf, I find that that is beginning to change. Although unlike Dr. Turndorf, I’m still somewhat of an agnostic on the subject of, is it actual communication with people who have passed? This episode is for people who believe there is actual communication and those who aren’t sure, and those who just don’t believe it. These exercises apply to everyone.

    Life-Changing Exercise
    Life-Changing Exercise: Old wounds can be healed, and we can feel the warmth of past love in our bodies and our hearts.

    Our cultural training around death can close down a wealth of available love and inner guidance that comes from a sense of connection to people we’ve lost, whether or not we believe that their spirit is still alive. Almost none of us have been taught about the power of creating an inner dialogue with people we’ve lost. In the spirituality of many Eastern religions, and also in that of many indigenous cultures, there are really strong beliefs that an ongoing connection with our ancestors links us to the very core of our life’s meaning, but few of us are taught how to create that connection.

    Dr. Turndorf says, “When we don’t reconnect and work out unfinished business with those who have passed, we limp through life dragging our unhealed wounds.” I just want to say that so many of us have had broken hearts in love, and it’s not as though the person has passed away, but as though there’s been such a profound loss that we are left sometimes feeling like we’re limping through life. Until those wounds are healed, it limits us in terms of our capacity to find a new relationship. This exercise applies as well to situations where we’ve lost a loved one, not through death but through a breakup.

    I found in my own life that when loved ones die, somehow they’ve become elevated in my mind. That has held me back from cherishing my connection with them as fully as I would have liked to. I’m a 64-year-old gay man. I have survived through the AIDS crisis. I have lost a lot of people. I’m a 64-year-old man, so I’ve lost a number of people already right there too. When these loved ones were alive, I reached out to them as often as I wanted, but after they passed, I lost that inner freedom to converse with them in my own mind. It would be a thing if I wanted to reach out to them because I would be hit with this immense gulf of the loss of them, which I somehow didn’t believe I could crossover, traverse, communicate through or past.

    I began to feel awkward and also less deserving because of guilt. The ways that I have not been there for that person, the ways that I’ve let them down, the ways that I didn’t show up, and the ways that I wasn’t there enough. Those guilts became magnified when there was no chance to make them up anymore. Was I a good enough friend? Was I a good enough grandson? Was I a good enough mentee? Was I a good enough mentor? Those doubts led me to deny myself a sense of free access to their presence. Once the really sharp waves of grief had passed, I placed my loved ones on this precious but dusty shelf, just relegating our relationship to the past.

    In her book, Dr. Turndorf teaches a method for dialoguing with departed people. Also, this can be used for people that we have broken up with and have ended relationships with or they have with us, but it holds tremendous healing potential for everyone in those situations. Dr. Turndorf is really passionate in her certainty that we can communicate with people we’ve lost, and I hope that’s true, especially after the passing of my father, where amazing things happened. I’ll share a story. This is quite an amazing story. I felt my dad’s presence after he passed in a way that I hadn’t felt at all as much with most other relationships where I lost people. I got used to feeling this with my dad. I remember at one point, I said to my dad, “Could you give me a sign?”

    Folks, I swear this really happened. My husband has his office and I walked by his office to the bedroom and sticking out of his door on the floor was a photograph of my dad’s big hand and my child’s little baby hand in his. It was not there when I passed previously. I believed it more with him. I felt his presence in a different way, but that’s not something that I’ve always had. I just wanted to share that story. There is something that I found again and again, and that is my relationship with lost loved ones, when I take it off that precious and somewhat dusty shelf, can come to life again through this process that I’m going to teach you of dialoguing from Dr. Turndorf. Old wounds can be healed and really we can feel the warmth of past love in our bodies and our hearts. I know that many of you know that already.

    My dad, he was a Holocaust survivor. I’ve talked about him in a previous episode. I think I called that one, Losing Love and Finding It Again. My dad was a teenager when he and his mom were wrenched apart in a way that was unimaginable during the Holocaust, and he never saw her again. Somehow, he went on to create a life that was full of love, family and success, but that unspeakable pain remained inside of him. Half a century, after he was liberated from concentration camp, and I dragged him to a workshop. In that workshop, he was asked to have a conversation with a loved one who died and he chose his mom. He remembered her really vividly and he spoke to her. Maybe it was the first time that he ever spoke to her since he saw her that day. He realized, it really hit him without a doubt, exactly what she would say to him, and that moment was life-changing. This is what he imagined. He imagined his mom looking at him and looking at his life and he knew she would say, “Eric, look what a beautiful family you’ve created. Look what a good life you have now. I’m so proud of you.” He had never had the gift of knowing that that’s what she would say and of having that window onto his current life until he did that exercise.

    Forgiveness is not an obligation. It is not a requirement. It is an organic gift that comes with intention and desire over time.CLICK TO TWEETThat exercise brought him a profound healing. One that none of us could ever have imagined even being possible. We felt the change in him after that. It was like a giant knot had finally unknotted inside him. Since reading this beautiful book, Love Never Dies, which describes the dialogue process in great detail, I have used Dr. Turndorf’s technique and it has opened life-changing doors for me. It’s a powerful process and I encourage everyone who feels ready to give it a try. Dr. Turndorf generously agreed to share her instructions for this process, and I’m going to tell you her words, and maybe you could even do them now. You can absolutely pause as you do it. As long as you’re not operating heavy machinery or driving, you can even sort of do it as you walk, sit, reflect or whatever it is that you’re doing. The first step is to make an effort to be more still and quiet. I’m excited and happy to be leading you in this. The idea is to create pockets of peace – moments in which you sit in silence, so you turn off the TV, the radio, the cell phone, and your computer, even if only for ten minutes. You just sit in some silence.

    Dr. Turndorf says, “In Love Never Dies, I share a lot of exercises for connecting with loved ones. The most powerful is my dialoguing with the departed technique.” Again, you don’t have to believe in life after death, and it could even be done with people who are still alive, but there’s been a breakup or a silence. You first find your stillness as she described, and then you speak back and forth with whoever it is that you want to contact. You talk aloud and you make a first statement, and then you just be open to what comes back in. It might be a picture, a thought or a sensation. You might want to try that now, and then you can write down or record if you have that capacity with you. If not, don’t worry, but you could write down and record not only what you say, but definitely what you hear, speaking aloud both your part and also what you hear or imagine or sense coming back.

    You just keep dialoguing back and forth for as long as you wish. You can dialogue to get support and guidance or to just reconnect. This can also be like an inner mentor process that I teach, where you connect with your wisest self, because you can get such wisdom from this process. You could say goodbye to the person. If someone was ripped from you, you can say goodbye to their physical body. If it was a traumatic ending, you can share what that was like for you. You can say goodbye in whatever way you wish, but above all, you can dialogue to heal any unfinished business. Now, if a death is really raw, traumatic or evokes PTSD symptoms, you would want to do this in the presence of a therapist or a very skilled and trained clinical facilitator.

    Going back to the experience, the good news is you do not have to force forgiveness on yourself. I deeply believe in the concept that forgiveness is not an obligation. It is not a requirement. It is an organic gift that comes with intention and desire over time, honesty, and with the help of dialogue. Using this technique, just pick up where you’re stuck with this person and just keep talking back and forth until you begin to sense a kind of quality of resolution. As you repeat this technique, it can heal a lot of emotional negative issues or struggles that remain with you. After reading this book, I tried this dialogue with two loved ones. I did it with my dear friend, Michael, who died of AIDS in 1991, and I’ve talked about him a bunch.

    Life-Changing Exercise
    Life-Changing Exercise: Our cultural training around death can close down a wealth of available love and inner guidance that comes from a sense of connection to people we’ve lost.

     

    I also did it with my grandmother, who died at 99 years old, as me and my sister were coming back with my infant baby from Cambodia after I adopted him. In both cases, just the act of remembering how it felt to be with them brought this warm kind of living memory of their presence. Was it their actual presence? Was it real? It felt real to me, but the question didn’t concern me because the love that we shared was unequivocally real and that’s what I felt. It felt almost as alive as it ever had. In that conjured sense of memory, I felt their loving concern for me.

    I got a dose of their familiar guidance and presence. Their presence moved me, just like it did so many times during my life and their life. I was struck by the fact that I denied myself this poignant gift for so long because I felt like I didn’t deserve it, because I felt like it wasn’t real, because I felt like it was not what one does. Ridiculous kind of things really, because there was a world of rich relationships that were hard-won, that were crafted over decades, and were still available to me. If nothing else, in their living presence inside me, in the ways that they had imprinted me and still lived inside of me. Their kind but sharp wisdom could be resurrected in present time just by remembering them and having a dialogue.

    In Memory Of John Neill

    Just to share one more story, I was privileged to spend some of the last days of his life with my dear friend and mentor, John McNeill. John was a priest who wrote a book called Taking a Chance on God and The Church and the Homosexualwho was kicked out of the Jesuit order by Benedict, who was then I believe Cardinal and became Pope later, for being gay. He was an LGBT activist and he changed my life, and the lives of countless other people. Another time, I’ll talk about what he meant to me. I had to leave John the day before he died. I’m just going to share one more story. John loved vichyssoise. It was a soup that he really loved. On the last day before that, as he was really moving toward passing, he just looked up and he said, “vichyssoise.” I made this my mission and I took a taxi 20 miles or something to this one place that was open that had vichyssoise in Fort Lauderdale.

    I got it for him and brought it back. My dear friend, the activist Brendan Fay and I, late at night, fed that to John on a little sponge, but then we got rid of the sponge because who wants to eat good food off a sponge? We used a tiny spoon. He loved it and he smiled. That was the story of how I got to give a very precious last wish to someone who had helped me and healed me in so many ways. Anyway, that next day, I had to leave. It was the day before John passed and the room was filled with his loved ones, but I gave myself the gift of asking for some moments alone with him. That’s something I learned from the passing of another friend where I didn’t give myself that gift.

    I bent down toward his ear and I just whispered a stream of pure gratitude to him. I told him how he changed my life, how he brought me back to the me that I had given up in my childhood. I told him how he helped me overcome old childhood shame, not just of being gay, but even a deeper shame at being me. I thanked him for growing me back to the parts of myself that I had given up so many years ago, parts that allowed me the gift of my current personal life and my professional life. He gave that to me. He gave it back to me because of what he saw in me. I felt a resolve never to put our relationship on that old dusty shelf. I just drank him in. I looked into his sweet face and I just filled myself with him. I knew that I would be coming back to visit him. That was a gift that I no longer had to deny myself. I hope that this exercise sounds helpful to you. I hope you try it and use it. I think you’ll find incredible riches from it. I also encourage you if this interests you, to look for Dr. Turndorf’s book, Love Never Dies. Thank you all for listening to this, a very kind of different episode. I look forward to seeing you in the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.

  • How To Change The Script Of Your Love Life [EP096]
    How do you truly change the script of your love life so the same painful patterns don’t keep happening again and again – and newer, wiser patterns can take their place? In this episode, you’ll learn some powerful and life-transforming tools to change the course of your future in love.

    Table of Contents

    How To Change The Script Of Your Love Life

    Your Myth Of Lost Love: Part 2

    How do you truly change the script of your dating life so the same kind of patterns in situations don’t keep happening again and again? Stay tuned to this episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast to learn how.

    Hello, and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page. I’m a psychotherapist, author of the book Deeper Dating, and the co-founder of DeeperDating.com, a new way for people to meet online that is respectful, warm, and inspiring. In every episode, I’m going to share with you the greatest tools that I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing, and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are the skills of intimacy, and the skills of intimacy are the greatest skills of all for a happy and rich life.

    If you want to learn more about the deeper dating path to real intimacy, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com. If you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get some free gifts and learn about how to use these ideas to transform your search for intimacy, and you’ll find complete transcripts of every episode as well. I also just want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice. Finally, I want to say that if you like what you’re learning here, it would be a wonderful gift if you could subscribe, leave a review on iTunes, and that would be much appreciated. Now, let’s jump in.

    DDP 96 | Myth Of Lost Love
    Myth Of Lost Love: Some people get in trouble repeatedly because of being naïve, as they don’t necessarily see the reality of how others behave.

     

    Last Episode Recap

    Let me begin by recapping what we talked about in the last episode because this is a two-part series. In the last episode, I talked about our scripts that we carry with us in our search for love. They’re deep and profound and that we act out again and again. One of these, I call the myth of lost love, which is the story that we tell ourselves about why we haven’t been loved right, what it says about the world, and what we need to do about it? These scripts are deep and profound things. They truly shape our behavior in amazing ways, and we can change these scripts by bringing wisdom into our search for love. I want to just start by recapping what the myth of lost love is, what we talked about in the last episode. In this episode, we’re going to be talking about how we can deconstruct that myth, and how we can rewire and build a story that makes more sense, that holds us in a better way, that allows us to make better and wiser choices, that allows more freedom and more intimacy.

    Let me start by just explaining this concept of the myth of lost love. In the ways that we were not seen and the ways that we were not loved right, and we’re human beings in a world filled with pain, suffering, and defense, and so none of us were loved perfectly right. Also, all of us have qualities that are both genius qualities but also deeply challenging to us and to the world. They’re the source of our greatness, but they are also the source of so much struggle and dilemma, because we have to grow into the power, the size, the gentleness, the intensity of these gifts, and whatever they are. Of course, our parents and our caregivers have also been wounded, and have not been able to see us and meet us properly in important ways, no matter how much they loved us.

    Admitting how you push love away is an act of greatness.CLICK TO TWEETOf course, the world has hurt us in our dating lives and our romantic lives. I think almost all of us have been hurt and often profoundly hurt, so we create this myth of lost love that originates in our childhood that grows and develops in our life and our dating life. It has three parts to it. The first part is it gives us an explanation of what the world is, like the world is a place where I can’t trust, or the world is a place where I am generous again and again, and keep being taken advantage of. The world is a place where this particular quality of mine has never really been seen or cherished and hence, has never felt safe. These are deep down stories that we tell ourselves about what the world is, and really how the world is going to treat us, and particularly, how the world is going to treat us if we show our deepest authentic self.

    That’s the first part of the myth. I’m doing this briefly because it’s what we talked about in the last episode. The second part of the myth is, what’s wrong with us? When a child is not treated right, they always think, “What’s wrong with me? How did I do this? How did I create this?” Often, we’re told directly or in subtler ways that it is our fault. We learn these deep down messages that way down in our psyche we translate into, “This is what’s wrong with me that I am not loved, seen, honored, or respected, etc.” The third part of the myth is, what do we need to do to protect ourselves so that we are not hurt this way again? So that we can avoid that pain and still find love. Often, these are kind of Byzantine complicated patterns that we create, that end up being self-sabotaging, and they get played out again and again. These are our myths of lost love.

    DDP 96 | Myth Of Lost Love
    Myth Of Lost Love: The qualities that are the reason why people don’t love you are almost always connected to your core gifts.

     

    Based on these myths, we act out stories again and again. These myths, to some huge degree, determine who we’re crazy attracted to, who we’re not interested in, because a part of our being is seeking resolution to the pain of that myth, but does it based on the stories that come out of that myth, so a repetition happens again and again. How do we change this script that is so deeply embedded, so habitual, so reasonable to our inner child, the way that we’ve protected ourselves? It’s so embedded. How do we change that script? That’s kind of what I have devoted so much of my life work to figuring out how to do, and that includes my own personal work and journey. I’m excited to share some ideas on that, but the first thing that I want to say is something that I say all the time. That is that the research shows that if you’re trying to change a deeply embedded habit, two things that you need are some kind of template for a different way of being that feels to you like it has wisdom and solidity, and that you can really believe in.

    The second thing is a community of support, even if it’s just one person. Some kind of community of support where you can fail, think, rewire, pick yourself up, try something new, and unwire, dewire, and rewire again and again in the presence of a compassionate, somewhat objective, more spacious person who can help us not ram ourselves back into the same way of trying that we habitually do again and again. Don’t try to do that alone. In all of my classes, in all of my courses, and in my book too, I have people find a learning partner. Even on DeeperDating.com, when you fill out a profile, you can check whether or not you want a learning partner, and then you can search for people who are looking for learning partners. Please do this, give this gift to yourself in changing your script, not thinking that you can do it alone, no matter how smart you are, and no matter how self-disciplined you are, because this is a deeper process. It’s another dimension than just your smarts or your willpower.

    People who need to protect their soul, heart, peace, and safety don’t use fighting as a solution.CLICK TO TWEET

    Deconstruction And Rewiring

    That said, I want to talk about the deconstruction and the rewiring around the three parts of this myth that we talked about. The first one that we talked about was understanding of what the world is and how the world will treat you when you’re authentic, when you’re vulnerable, when you need, when you’re extra fierce, when you’re extra tender, whatever those most important parts of you are. Out of our picture of what the world is and how we will be treated, we develop attachment styles. Some of the attachment styles that we develop, some of the ways that we develop are as follows. Tell me if any of them or you can tell me if you do the Ask Ken thing, but otherwise, think for yourself about which of these feel like they’re true for you.

    Here’s a really interesting one that I’m going to start with. I guess this is what it’s like. It’s like you’re in a burning building and you can only take out one thing. In a difficult life, we choose the things that we most need for survival. If what we most need is a sense of freedom, we have to often cut the cords to dependence. If what we most need is interconnectedness, we have to cut the cords to being radically authentic and we’ll have to people please. Each of us makes hard choices of what we’re going to take out of the burning building, and it’s the thing we need the most. One thing that I’ve noticed in my work is that people who have a deep connection to goodness need the world to be a good place, need to see goodness in the world. One way that they survive is a kind of enforced naivete, where they won’t see the reality of how selfish people can be, of how unkind people can be, not everyone but some people, how ethicless some people can be, and how abusive.

    DDP 96 | Myth Of Lost Love
    Myth Of Lost Love: If you don’t know how to embrace your core gifts, you will be sexually and romantically attracted to people who will step on them.

     

    To protect the sense of the world’s goodness, some people need to hold a naivete, which gets them in trouble again and again because they don’t necessarily see the reality of how people can behave. Some of us who have been told that we don’t have a right to have a voice, who have been hurt in the place of our dignity, autonomy, sovereignty, or many other things like that, hold a quality of defensiveness. Those of us that believe that the world is going to cut us down, that the world is going to hurt us, that the world is going to squash us, that if we are weak, if we are not strong, if we don’t fight back regularly and even preemptively, we’re going to be wounded and hurt. Those of us who have that have a quality of defensiveness or anger that we then use to protect ourselves against a world that’s hostile.

    Some of us who need to protect our soul, our heart, our peace, our safety don’t use fighting as a solution. We use retreat. We pull back and we become avoidant. Some of us who deeply believe that we might be betrayed, but deeply need connection, those of us who need connection in very deep ways, we all do, but some people are wired so that’s the thing they have to take out of the building, the one thing they need the most, and have this belief that we will be abandoned or not seen or dropped. We have a more insecure attachment style. These are just some examples and there are so many more, but they’re examples of, first of all, what’s the thing that we tell ourselves? You could think about this for a moment now. What are the myths that you’ve told yourself about how the world is an unsafe place, and just to reiterate that these myths are in a way seen from a child’s mind, but they have real reality not only in your experience but about what the world actually can be like?

    Those with a deep connection to goodness can often tend to become naïve.CLICK TO TWEET

    Core Gifts

    Now, I want to talk about the second part. The second part is what we tell ourselves is wrong with us, that we have created this pain or this problem, or that we have invited it or allowed it. That is the human tendency, is to blame ourselves. This is a really rich one and connects to our core gifts. There’s a lot of complexity, a lot of richness here that I talk about in greater depth in my book, and in many podcast episodes where I speak about core gifts. I’m just going to say briefly that the amazing thing here, the incredible thing here is that the qualities that we decide are the reason that people don’t love us, are almost always connected to our deepest gifts, which I call our core gifts. Those are the parts of us that have a quality of depth, intensity, sensitivity, or differentness that people don’t normally easily know how to handle, including us.

    They’re the deepest richest parts of us. They are our greatest beauty, and the more we align with those parts and honor them, and kind of live like artists in the presence of those qualities, like a deep sensitivity, a truth-telling, a hunger for accomplishment, achievement or creativity, a passion, an intensity, a tenderness, a humility, a generosity that runs so deep that it’s gotten us in trouble. These are the holy parts of us. These are the powerful parts of us, and the simple, strange question of, what have we told ourselves is wrong with us? Whatever those qualities are, are almost definitely intimately connected with our greatest gifts.

    If we don’t know how to embrace those qualities, we will be sexually and romantically attracted to people who step on them, deny them, ignore them, or don’t at all understand or appreciate them. The deep journey here and the gift of finding out our answer to that question, and you could take a moment now and pause and think about this. What do you tell yourself are the flaws in you that people just can’t love or betray you or let you down because of, or are too much, or maybe are not strong enough? Those are often the two things. We think we’re too much or we think we’re not enough. Around each of those points, there is a depth of being that’s so big, that maybe the world hasn’t known how to handle it, and we haven’t known how to handle it. Those are our core gifts.

    The journey here is to name those gifts. To come to understand them like we would understand a child that we have, who is brilliant and gifted, and also struggling with the weight of those gifts. There’s a lot of compassion that we need to hold. Also, a lot of treasuring and renaming again and again of the worth of these gifts. When we do this, we form into a self that can really live in an extraordinary way in the world. Over time, we find as we do this, as we name these gifts, is that when we’re dating, when we’re in relationships, we will notice when those gifts are not being seen. We’ll notice when those gifts are being stepped on or taken advantage of or abused, and we’ll say, “This feels horrible, no.”

    Instead of doing our old methods of convincing ourselves that we have to change, or convincing ourselves that the world is just this way, and this is all we can expect, we will instead begin to say, “This is not a place where I can feel really at home. I need to do something about that.” When we do that, our search for love changes, and our life changes. That is why this is really a kind of almost holy journey because it’s a journey to come back to those most deeply authentic, passionate, tender and sacred parts of ourselves that really as we do, our mission in life becomes clearer, and our capacity to love in a wiser way and choose in a wiser way also develops. That’s the second piece of how we blame ourselves, which can lead us to seeing what our deepest gifts are.

    The third one is then, what are the defense mechanisms that we create? What are the structures? What are the flight patterns from intimacy? What are the things that we do to look for love based on that myth? How do we behave when we believe this is what the world is? How do we behave when we feel shame around some of our deepest core gifts? What are the things that we do? What is the choreography of our behavior around those wounds? This is an incredibly rich and complex question, but I think I could just ask this in a way that you could think about briefly and just see what pops up.

    What are your ways of unconsciously, or maybe even consciously, pushing love away? What are the patterns that are yours by which you push love away even though you’re looking for it? You can take a minute, you can pause and think about it, but I want to say, I think it behooves all of us to become a student of our fear of intimacy and to really know the ways that we do this because we all do. I think that that is an act of greatness. It is to be able to swallow and admit, “These are the ways I push love away. This is the choreography of how I protect myself in ways that maybe aren’t the wisest, but they are the best I have had, and this is what I could consider doing differently.” I think that’s an act of greatness and humility. I think that the bang for your buck that you get in your intimacy journey when you tackle these things is absolutely huge.

    Each one of these things that we’ve talked about, your search for love and your intimacy life, will change profoundly as you embrace these pieces. You can see why this path is really a path to your own greatness, a path to the deepest parts of you, and God knows love is one of the deepest parts of all of us. Thank you so much for listening. I encourage you to think about all of these things and explore them further. I wish you blessings in your deep, profound, precious, and important learning journey around your search for love. I look forward to speaking with you in the next episode.

  • How To Discover Your Personal “Myth Of Lost Love” [EP095]
    Your Myth of Lost Love is the story you created to help you make sense of love. Your myth profoundly impacts the people you choose, the ways you behave in loving relationships, and ultimately, your entire intimacy journey. In this episode, you’ll discover your own personal Myth of Lost Love–and the deep Core Gifts at the heart of this myth.

    Table of Contents

    How To Discover Your Personal “Myth Of Lost Love”

    Understanding Your Core Beliefs About Romantic Love

    In this episode of the Deeper Dating, you will discover your myth of lost love, the story that you crafted to help you understand your relationship to love and to the world. Stay tuned to this episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.

    Hello, everybody and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page. I’m a psychotherapist, the author of the book, Deeper Dating, and the Cofounder of DeeperDating.com, a site where single people can meet based on the principles of dignity, respect, kindness and inspiration. Today, I’m going to talk about the myth of lost love, which are the inner stories that we tell ourselves, that shape the entire way we approach our romantic lives. You’ll learn about what your myth of lost love is. Every week, I’m going to share with you the greatest tools that I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing, and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are the skills of intimacy, and the skills of intimacy are the skills of life.

    If you want to learn more about the deeper dating path to real intimacy, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com. If you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get free gifts. You’ll also have access there to all of the transcripts of all of my episodes. I also want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice. Finally, if you like what you’re hearing and learning here, it would be a wonderful gift if you could subscribe and even review this podcast. That’s a tremendous thing. The reviews that people have given have just been so beautiful and I’m really appreciative. Let’s jump in.

    Myth Of Lost Love

    Today, I’m going to be talking about what I call the myth of lost love, which is the deep story that we tell ourselves about who we are, who the world is, and how we need to behave in order to protect ourselves, and be loved. I call it a myth because it has an ancient depth. It touches our heartstrings in a very deep way. There are universal themes, but it’s also very personal. Like a myth, it shapes the way we approach our lives, and in this case, our romantic lives and our entire intimacy life. What we’re going to do in this episode is I’m going to talk about the different components of the myth of lost love. I’m going to ask you some questions as we go, and you can just quickly think of what your response is. By the end of this episode, you will have a much richer understanding of your myth of lost love and how it shapes your romantic life, and also where it came from.

    There’s a lot of rich stuff here. You’re also going to be learning how your myth of lost love points to you, what your deepest core gifts are that you have not yet been able to embrace. It’s exciting and profound stuff. This is going to be a two-part episode. In the second episode, we’ll be talking about how we can change the story of our myth of lost love. To have it finally become a story that works and heals us, and adds to the love in our life instead of ultimately subtracting from it, and that includes self-love. In this episode, we’re going to talk about what the myth of lost love is. You’re going to identify yours, and in that, you will get glimpses of your deepest core gifts, which lie at the heart of your entire intimacy journey.

    The act of suppressing hidden parts of us is an act of quiet violence against our deepest being.CLICK TO TWEET

    The Story We Tell Ourselves As Children

    Each one of us has created this myth of lost love, which is a life-defining story that we use to explain why we were not loved the way we needed to be when we were children, why we were not loved the way we needed to be by our romantic partners, and what we can do to repair that pain or protect ourselves from experiencing it again. This myth comes alive whenever we’re in a relationship that really matters to us, and it can stir us down to our very core. I’m going to share a story, and that story is going to illustrate some of the different points of the myth of lost love.

    Why We Deserve Punishment

    The first dynamic in the myth of lost love that we create is the story we tell ourselves as children, about the ways in which the world is an unsafe and unloving place.

    Debbie’s story. Debbie’s dad divorced her mother when Debbie was about seven years old. She was a single parent with four older boys, and one very sensitive little girl to raise. Her mom just didn’t have the time or the energy for her. She seemed angry a lot of the time. Debbie’s many attempts to show love to her mother were sometimes returned, but often they were rebuffed or ignored completely. Debbie really only remembered a few times when her mother showed her real affection. Sometimes, her mom would actually humiliate her when Debbie showed her need, her longing for connection, her soft side. As a result, Debbie ended up experiencing the world as a place that had an essential coldness, and where the warmth of real love was mostly unattainable. She developed a myth of lost love to explain why her mother’s love was being denied to her. She came to the conclusion that the world was a cold place that rewarded need and vulnerability with humiliation, and rewarded the lack of need and the lack of vulnerability with success.

    That’s the first part of how we come to see and understand the world based on our experiences. You might want to take a minute to think about that. We’re going to get to this one more deeply in a moment, but what are the parts of you that you felt were not treasured or honored at home, in your deep love relationships, or in the world in general? What did that teach you or tell you? What did you decide about the world because of that? Some people decide that the world is a cold place and shut down in particular ways, and protect themselves because they hold onto a sense of reality. Other people, for very different reasons, can experience abuse, neglect and those same things. What they need to hold on to is a sense of goodness of the world.

    Even if it’s a losery, those people approach the world with a kind of naiveté. Not believing that someone would hurt them even if their gut instincts are this person isn’t safe. These are just some of the ways that we create a myth. That second myth is a myth of, “If I’m good enough, if I’m kind enough, if I’m loving enough, this other person will be different.” My mom is a Holocaust survivor. She had that. Her thing when she was eight years old was, “If the Nazis could see my goodness, they would never hurt me.” There is cruelty, unkindness, and vast amounts of pain and suffering in the world. Each of us develops a story.

    DDP
    Myth Of Lost Love: The myth of lost love is the deep story that we tell ourselves about who we are, who the world is, and how we need to behave in order to protect ourselves and be loved.

     

    Second, the myth of lost love explains why we deserve this punishment. On one hand, we believe something about the world. On the other hand, deep down, we believe something about us. That’s what kids do. They make it all about themselves. That’s what children do. As a kid, Debbie had no way to know that her mom was the one with the big issue here. She loved her, and so she explained her mom’s coldness in a way that made sense to her, “It’s my fault. I’m unlovable.” What it came down to for Debbie was, “I need too much and people hate that.” She grew up feeling that somehow, she was the reason that she couldn’t find real love. Our myth of lost love continues this path of damage, our negative myth, by telling us exactly what makes us unworthy of love.

    We do that to ourselves in such crippling terms. We hone in on our most human traits. Our most vulnerable traits, our traits of need, our traits that were shamed or ignored, or our traits that are somehow immature, not refined, or not socially skilled. We blame ourselves and tell ourselves that those are the reasons why we lose love. It taught Debbie that vulnerability and emotional intensity were humiliating traits that made her unlovable, in a world that tended to step on those parts of her, and of ourselves.

    Here’s another really rich question. What are the parts of you that somewhere deep down inside, you believe if you really show them to a person, you’re deeply intimate with, they’re going to be turned off? They’re going to turn away from you. Somehow, they’re going to betray you. Somehow, they’re going to pull the rug out from under you. Somehow, they’re going to profoundly disappoint you, or you with these traits, you are so profoundly going to disappoint them, that they’re not going to be available to you. Now, this is a rich and amazing question for a lot of reasons, which I’ll talk about in a minute, but take a minute. You could even pause the recording if you want just to think about, what are those qualities that you tell yourself “This is the reason why people don’t end up being attracted to me romantically, sexually, or why the world doesn’t want to hear my message, or hear my creativity, or appreciate or relish my gifts.”? Take a minute just to think about that.

    I have lots to say about this. The big thing that I want to say is that these qualities, the ones you just listed, and I’m not talking about events in your life that you feel, “I’m ashamed of this. I’m embarrassed by this.” I’m not talking about events. I’m talking about parts of your being, parts of your nature. Some examples would be, a deep longing for love, a need to depend on people, and be able to really deeply lean on them. A passion for truth, an intense sensitivity, a deep quality of humility, a fiercely passionate kind of fiery attribute to your nature, a truth-telling. These are just some examples. Whatever it is for you, these are core gifts. Meaning they are parts of you that can never be amputated. Ultimately, if you try to airbrush them or people-please them away, you will pay because they’re parts of your soul. The act of suppressing those parts is an act of quiet violence against our deepest being.

    This is such an amazing thing, but the things we tell ourselves are the reasons why people can’t love us. This is the therapy journey that, as a therapist, I take people on, that, is a very extended process in many cases to have the depth of realization come alive about this. Those qualities that we’re most ashamed of are qualities that are connected to our deepest core gifts, and end up being our saviors in life and in love when we claim them and embrace them. When we don’t, we end up sexually and romantically attracted to people who also can’t treasure those parts of us.

    Treasure the hidden parts of ourselves, name them, identify them, and look for people who in essential ways, love those parts.CLICK TO TWEETNow, are those parts of us demanding? Yes. They’re like being a genius. Genius demands a lot of fuel. It demands a lot of understanding. It demands a lot of spaciousness, a lot of creativity, a lot of challenge, and a lot of work. These qualities demand that of us. They demand it of the people who love us, and the people who love us are often not willing to do that work, which is why our salvation comes from finding the people who treasure those very aspects of us. In a nutshell, I think that’s the greatest secret of self-love and romantic love.

    How To Protect And Defend Ourselves

    The third part of the myth of lost love is that it tells us how to protect and defend ourselves in an unsafe world. As a kid, Debbie had to learn how to be quiet in the face of her mom’s anger. She had to be the best little girl in the world. The anger that took root in Debbie as a child came into full bloom in Debbie as an adult. She still wanted to be the best girl in the world, but she vowed not to be humiliated again. Every time she felt vulnerable, even if she felt afraid of being unloved, in other words, she felt vulnerable and she didn’t express it. She was afraid that if she did, she would be hurt. She would mount a kind of preemptive strike. She would have a sudden kind of prickliness or over the top anger, and it would undermine and destroy each new budding relationship for her. Now, there’s a few pieces here. There is her need, her vulnerability, and her soft heart. There is the ferocity of her self-protection and pride.

    All of which are cherished, precious, and essential parts of us, and Debbie in this case. Here is the thing that is also so rich and powerful. It’s that because these core gifts are so demanding, and because they get us in trouble, we try to leave them behind so we could be normal and like everyone else, and be loved and be whatever it is that we think we need to be, which never works and bites us in the butt in an essential, profound, and ongoing way, but because we leave these parts of us behind, they don’t grow up. There’s a quality of immaturity that is often stuck with them. Part of the work of reclaiming these gifts is not just thinking, “I have these fabulous gifts, and anyone who doesn’t get them in whatever form they’re in, just doesn’t love me.”

    That’s kind of an exaggeration because we need to teach these gifts how to grow up in the world, how to have legs, how to express themselves with more courage, with more kindness, and with more integration. That comes with the first step, that is unequivocally to treasure these parts of ourselves, to name them, to identify them, and to look for people who in an essential way, love those parts of us, but then the work does become to help those parts of ourselves grow up, and become more mature, and be able to stand as entities, as part of our mission in the world.

    DDP 95 | Myth Of Lost Love
    Myth Of Lost Love: Genius demands a lot of fuel. It demands a lot of understanding, a lot of spaciousness, a lot of creativity, a lot of challenges, and a lot of work.

     

    Until we do that, our myth of lost love instructs us in how to protect and defend ourselves in an unsafe world. Even though we know that those parts of Debbie were core gifts, and that her efforts to suppress them were not going to work, she didn’t know that at the time that these were central parts of her being. She knew she hadn’t found the love that she wanted, and that the life she had dreamed of was passing her by. She didn’t know what to do about it. In therapy, she began to name those core gifts. She discovered that there was a really important similarity with almost all her past boyfriends. None of them were comfortable with her vulnerability or with their own vulnerability. In fact, they all made her feel ashamed of it. Now with that, she had a blueprint behind her, what I call attractions of deprivation.

    She saw that again and again, the people she was most wildly attracted to were the people in front of whom she felt like she needed to hide these parts of herself to get them to really love her and commit, but it never worked. She couldn’t hide them well enough so she felt like a failure, and they didn’t love her fully or fully enough. That same pattern happened again and again. She began to realize that the pain she had felt in past relationships was the pain of a gift that had never been loved into fullness. She had lost all this time trying to get people to accept parts of her that she didn’t acceptm and they were not the kind of people who could accept and treasure. At this point, her powerful will and her pride lined up behind a new goal. That that was the only kind of man that she would settle for. She began to date and surround herself with people who, in an essential way, valued her vulnerability, and were not terrified by her need. These were hallmarks and foundations of changing her life, and being able to find and nourish and keep love.

    Take a minute to think about what your ways are to protect yourself in this world. It might be avoidance of deeper intimacy. It might be choosing unavailable people. What are the ways that you have done this? In our next episode, we’re going to talk about how to change our myth of lost love, but with the information you have now, you can begin to think about the treasured parts of you that you felt like you had to neglect, ignore or airbrush in order to find love, which in fact are the keys to self-love and the creation of love in our lives. Thank you so much for listening, and I look forward to seeing you on the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.

  • Deeper Dating Q&A: Expert Advice For All Your Questions About Love, Dating And Sex [EP094]
    Listeners bring their most important questions about love, sex, dating, and relationships to host Ken Page and get his personal direct advice in Ken’s Q and A podcasts. We’ll explore what it means when your partner’s scent turns you off, how to handle a partner who asks you to go faster than you’re ready for…or who pulls away from you when things are just starting to speed up in a wonderful direction….and more!

    Table of Contents

    Deeper Dating Q&A: Expert Advice For All Your Questions About Love, Dating And Sex

    What Do You Do When It’s Almost Working…But Almost Is Still Not Enough

    Welcome to the Deeper Dating Q&A, where I’m going to answer your most pressing personal questions about love, sex and intimacy, in such a way that you can apply these insights to the particulars of your own love life, so you’re going to leave this episode with new possibilities and hopefully, some important revelations about your own relationships. Stay tuned to the Deeper Dating Podcast.

    Hello, everybody and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist. I’m the author of the book Deeper Dating and the Cofounder of DeeperDating.com, a new online experience where people can meet in ways that are inspiring, respectful, and fun. Today, I’m going to be answering your questions about your relationship issues. This week and every week when I have an episode, I’m going to share the greatest tools that I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process because the true skills of dating are the deep skills of intimacy. Those are the greatest building blocks of all for a happy, rich, and meaningful life.

    If you want to learn more about the deeper dating path to real intimacy, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com. You’ll find transcripts of every episode. If you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get lots of free resources and learn a lot more about how to use these ideas to transform your own intimacy journey. I also want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment, and if you’re experiencing any serious psychological symptoms, please seek professional help. Finally, if you like what you’re learning here, it would be an amazing thank you if you subscribed and left me a review. Thank you so much for that and let’s dive in.

    I’m going to need to do a few of these Q&As closer together, especially now that I’m doing an episode every two weeks for the time being, because there are many amazing questions that I got that I want to be able to answer. I’m only able to answer some of them at a time. Today, I’m going to talk about four questions that I got that all have a really similar theme. That theme is meeting someone who really feels like an attraction of inspiration, which is someone who you’re attracted to not because of their unavailability, not because of their mixed messages, not because of the chaos and the craziness, but because of their goodness, their decency, their authenticity and their availability, and a feeling of a mutual bond that just has a quality of goodness, solidity and trustability, which is a huge issue. All of these stories, all of these questions come from people who have found relationships like that, and are now struggling with certain issues that have come up.

    Moving Past The Regret And Confusion

    One person said to me that she really appreciates my work, which I really appreciate hearing, and that after reading my book and doing this work, she met her husband who is a truly wonderful guy. All of the qualities of inspiration that I mentioned and that I write about, she felt like were really, really there. It still feels like those qualities were really there, but she needed time and space, and he pushed it too fast. That left her not feeling safe. He was very uncomfortable and didn’t feel safe with the unknowing space. He really pushed things fast, and she went along with that feeling, kind of horrible, even though he was such a great guy. She said the engagement was horrible for that reason. She felt anxious, she felt pushed, she felt unsafe, but they got married.

    The best antidote to old hypnosis is a current relationship with reality.CLICK TO TWEETAlthough he was a wonderful person and they had a relationship that was good in so many ways, in this essential way, it wasn’t. She never felt safe. She never was able to get over the fact that she felt pushed into getting married too soon. They did couples therapy. At a certain point, then he gave up and he said, “I can never be who you want me to be.” He gave up and they separated. They have been kind since that separation. They have been decent, but she is left feeling deeply regretful and wondering. She asked, “Was I too much of a perfectionist? My soul didn’t feel safe, but how do I move past the regret and the confusion that I feel now that I’ve lost him, and the relationship is over? I lost him because he felt like I never really was able to fully love him or accept him or embrace the relationship.”

    This is so poignant. I want to say first something that I say to people a lot. I want to congratulate you and acknowledge your shift that you chose someone with such qualities of inspiration. It’s a huge deal. It is a shift. It means everything, even if this relationship didn’t work. That said, if you’re feeling such deep regret and confusion, and I want to say this to anybody who has lost or ended a relationship that felt like an attraction of inspiration. When there was a deep sense of safety and awareness of that person’s goodness, and there was potential, and there was attraction where you left or it didn’t end up working out, or you couldn’t embrace it, and you’re feeling deep regret and confusion, you might want to explore what was going on there. You might want to explore the possibility of trying again.

    I think that if we’re not sure, it’s worth it. We tell ourselves we need to move past a relationship, but some people are very good at knowing when they need to move past their relationship. They still feel, in a particular case, this regret and confusion. What I would say is there was a wound spot hit by the two of you, where he could not give you enough space. What that created for you was untenable. You gave yourself up in a way by saying, “Yes.” That resentment when we give ourselves up can be so deep and so profound. I do think if you want, it would be worth it. No matter what, it is worth exploring the giving up of your own pacing because your pacing is precious, and it’s central. Just like with sex and intimacy, we have to honor that pacing, even if it’s hard for the other person. Something to look at is where you gave up your boundaries.

    That’s something for you to look at no matter what. I would say if there’s more discussion to be had with him, have it. If there’s another chance that seems reasonable and possible, you might want to try for that. Even if it doesn’t work, you will be clearer after doing that. If someone is not abusive, it’s a good relationship, and you’re still not sure – there’s no addiction, there’s no untreated mental illness, there’s goodness, there’s decency, and you’re not sure, you might want to try again. You might want to explore the possibility of trying again.

    I don’t know about you, but I know a number of people who have tried again and had it work. I know a number of people who have tried again and had it not work but got clearer. In the case of an essentially good relationship, if you feel drawn to go back, you might want to consider doing that. I did a whole podcast episode on this. I also do think that at the end of a relationship like that, where there was at least a big amount of inspiration, rightness and trust, it’s worth it to think, “What did I learn? How might there have been my fear of intimacy that played a role in this? What will I know next time? What will I do differently next time?” That’s something you might want to think about even now. Was there an attraction of inspiration that you weren’t able to sustain? What are your reflections and what you would have done differently? You might want to take a minute to think about that right now. You can even pause the recording if you like.

    DDP 94 | Questions About Love
    Questions About Love: We are most attracted to the smell of people who are immunologically dissimilar.

     

    Biologically Incompatible

    Someone else asked, “Are there people who are just biologically not compatible?” She says, “With my boyfriend, from the very beginning, I had issues with his breath and smell.” She said, “At this point, I hate his smell. Is this the wave of distancing?” For those of you who don’t know, that’s when you meet someone and they’re really available, really decent and really trustable. The excitement feels like it’s not there and you just want to flee. The reason is often a deep fear of availability. I’ve spoken about this and what to do about it a lot in previous podcasts. Anyway, she said, “I am just now completely repulsed by his smell. I don’t want to have sex. He’s a wonderful person and I’m afraid to go deeper. Is this a biological incompatibility? What do I do?”

    This is a really rich question. Of course, I’m going to start with the simplest part here. If someone’s breath is bad, that probably means that they have gum decay or tooth decay. That is something that’s addressable that you have every right in the world to ask them to address. It’s hard to do, but you really do deserve this. If they have body odor of any sort, it’s the same thing – you have a right to ask that they take care of that. It’s important to do that, but that might not be this. Although the breath thing does sound like it might be that. I did a little bit of research into this and found out some very fascinating things. One piece of this is that we have a sequence of more than a hundred immune system genes known as MHC, Major Histocompatibility Complex. What science has discovered is that we are most attracted to the smell of people who are immunologically dissimilar. In other words, their MHC profile is different than ours. In cases where the MHC profile is very similar, there’s going to be less attraction to the person’s smell and maybe less attraction to the person as a whole.

    Interestingly, there’s also more chance of immunologically healthier offspring between partners whose MHC complex is dissimilar. People whose MHC complex is more similar are more likely to have children who are less disease resistant. Interestingly too, the only time that that awareness is not there fully for women is when they’re on birth control. When they’re on birth control pills, supposedly their ability to get the scent dissatisfaction that they experienced with people whose MHC is different than theirs. They don’t have that ability if they’re on birth control pills. That’s an interesting thing too.

    There are also other factors, like for example, trauma. When we have trauma memories, when we have trauma experiences, certain kinds of smells can trigger us, or fears can come up and they can manifest themselves in ways like a repulsion towards someone’s smell. This is a concept of the wave. Often, when we meet someone who is available and we become afraid, we start feeling repulsed by them. This is something that is also worth exploring. This is so multifactorial. Please don’t think that we are just so much victims of biology in our MHC complexes because we have to look, could it be a fear of intimacy?

    The last thing that I would say is if you have looked at these issues, if you don’t think it’s the wave, if you have this person address hygiene issues and you know that it’s not necessarily an illness related issue or a hygiene-related issue, or a gum disease-related issue, and you just cannot get past their smell, and this goes on, you do need to not torture yourself and just accept that that’s the way things are. I also want to say something else too, that there may be ways that you can be with the person that are very sexy and very hot that somehow bypass some of the smell issues. There might be parts of their body that you don’t like to smell and other parts that you don’t feel that way. If this is a really special relationship, once again, I say, look into all those possibilities. Ultimately, you can’t be with someone who you just feel repulsed by their smell, and some of the other factors that we mentioned.

    Deeper love begins by the way you handle the things your intuition says are off.CLICK TO TWEET

    Emotional Sobriety

    Someone else said that she’s done a lot of recovery work around emotional sobriety. She had parents who were abused and addicted. She said she’s proud of the work that she’s done because she’s lost her taste for attractions of deprivation, which I celebrate hearing. She doesn’t have any attractions of deprivation anymore. That doesn’t happen for her in her romantic life. She said she’s two months in with a kind and wonderful guy, and she feels now it’s the next step. It’s not being with someone who was an attraction of deprivation and going through all of the roller coaster of that. This is something different. She’s with a kind and wonderful guy. She feels like she doesn’t have it in her to believe that she is loved. She said that the excitement of chaos also isn’t there. I want to say something about this, and I’m wondering if any of you relate to this. Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve been with someone who loved you, and was available and was present, and you couldn’t take it in? You couldn’t really believe it. I want to say a few things about that. The biggest thing that I want to say is, on some level, that’s okay. That is human.

    For those of us, and I include myself in this, who have had a particular kind of trauma in life, there’s some way that some parts of us believe in the love, and other parts just can’t. It’s like putting two positive ends of a magnet together and they can’t connect. I know that I have parts of me to this day, thirteen years into the relationship with my husband, where I cannot believe in his love for me, even though it’s there and it’s present, so I create bypasses. Those bypasses are all the ways that my body knows I’m loved, that I know that my nervous system knows that I’m safe, and I’m treasured because of his behaviors, because of all the ways that my nervous system senses what my mind can’t always believe. I trust those pathways and I follow them. Also, I talk about it. When I hit these junctures where it’s hard for me to believe in his love for me, I talk about it.

    In fact, I’ll share that the night before we got married, I took a walk with him to the beach and I said, “I love you. I know you love me, but some part of me doesn’t believe it. We’re getting married tomorrow and some part of me is still too afraid to believe it.” It was great that I said that and he made space for it. I just want to make space for the parts of all of us, where we don’t believe yet that we’re loved, where we can’t take it in so that we can create pockets, where at those times we don’t ride on our cognition. We ride more maybe on our nervous system where we essentially feel safe, or maybe we just take our partner’s hand and be quiet together.

    A therapist said to me something so wise once, and I love it. It’s been so useful to me as a therapist. She said, “The best antidote to an old hypnosis is a current relationship with reality.” If your old hypnosis is in the truth of not being loved, the truth of non-availability, the truth of abuse, by being with your partner in ways that don’t feel suffocating, that don’t push you and don’t pressure you, but let your nervous system and your heart, or maybe your skin, because touch helps so much, register and realize the care that is there for you. That helps us get past those cognitive places where we can’t get it or believe it, or those nervous system places where we can’t believe it, or those deep trauma places where we can’t believe it. We do not have to get rid of those, but what is good to do is to be able to hold them with cupped hands, with non-judgment, and to learn from them the language of how we get past them, how we hold them, how we stay connected, even when parts of us don’t feel connected. That’s just so much of the story of real intimacy that we don’t get taught.

    This listener also shared some feedback on a previous episode. The episode of the interview I did with Mike Moran where date rape was mentioned. She said that that was kind of upsetting for her to hear the words date rape, because date rape minimizes the fact that rape is rape, and the fact that it happened on a date doesn’t at all change the reality of rape. That phrase date rape is a very minimizing and disrespectful term. I want to thank you so much for that. I really appreciate that. It makes perfect sense and I learned something. Thanks for your bravery in sharing that. I wanted to share it with my listeners’ community and apologize for that and acknowledge that.

    DDP 94 | Questions About Love
    Questions About Love: Those things that we think are intuition can be blindingly powerful, but when it’s an arena where a lot is at stake, we can’t always trust our intuition.

     

    Not That Almost Man

    The last question that I’m going to take, and there are so many more, and I will get to them as well as I can in the time that I have. This is a very poignant one. It’s someone who is talking about facing the end of a relationship. “After about three years of being mostly single,” she said in her words, “I met someone who was not that almost man, almost loving, almost available, almost kind, almost respectful. He was not an almost man.” In fact, they had visualized each other, and they shared with each other things that they wrote in their visualization process of qualities they’d want their partner to have that articulated the other person. These are two people who are deeply intuitive, and each had visualized the other. She said that, “It has been beautiful and I celebrate that. That is wonderful.”

    She said one month in, after a day of planning their future together, her partner who’s deeply intuitive said he needed to take a pause, and it’s been about a month now, because he somehow felt that there was something that was not right. He wanted time. He wanted to honor that he was certain that it was not fear, a kind of unconscious fear. He wanted to take the time in that month to honor himself and to explore what it was that didn’t feel right to his intuition. What she said is, “For me, I’m very intuitive too, and my intuition is saying, ‘Yes, this is good and this is right.’”

    One thing I want to say about intuition, and this is something I’ve also talked about in a previous podcast, is sometimes it’s hard to know what is intuition and what is fear. What is intuition and what is a need that doesn’t want to face reality? Those things that we think are intuition can be blindingly powerful, but when it’s an arena where a lot is at stake, we can’t always trust our intuition. I feel that very strongly. I think that that is true in early relationships. To the person who asked the question, it might be that your intuition is based on a kind of sensing something wrong too that frightens you that you don’t want to face. It may be that his intuition is exactly that. All I’m saying is that this is a point that it’s good to check in with the friends who know us and love us, and hear what they have to say, because they may say or this guy’s friends might say to him, “You have done this before and don’t mess this one up.”

    Maybe your friends might say to you something similar, or maybe your friends will say, “No, I get it. This really feels right between the two of you.” All I’m saying is when it comes to big decisions where there’s a heavy charge and especially situations where there’s been trauma, struggling or suffering around something that matters as much as a relationship, get help. Don’t trust that your intuition is your intuition. You might ultimately trust it but get those side-view mirrors going, where you can get focus from other people because you do, WE do have blind spots. Often, those blind spots feel so much like intuition. I am hoping that this guy is not taking a complete break from the relationship for a month. If he is, I think that’s a warning sign because the best antidote to an old hypnosis is through a current relationship with reality.

    His being with you is how he’s going to come to understand which pieces of this might be things that don’t feel safe, that might be just historical for him, which are pieces that feel true. If they are true, I want to say that as we progress in a relationship, we reach a point where there are deep flaws or off-nesses that we feel in our relationship. That is what’s supposed to happen. That is when deeper love begins by the way you handle the things that your intuition says are off. That’s the meat and the potatoes of the heart of intimacy. Not fleeing and going into a cave and thinking you’re going to work it out yourself, but working it out with support, with side-view mirrors, and in relationship with the other person. What I would want to say to this guy is, “Yes, your intuition probably is telling you something is off. Explore that, but don’t just explore it in your head, explore it in the relationship.” That’s what I would say to the two of you. I hope that that is something that can happen.

    I also want to say that I love these questions, because these questions reflect people who have lost their taste for unhealthy relationships and are now dealing with the challenges that come up in relationships that are basically good, even if those relationships don’t work. I just want to acknowledge that progress. I want to ask each one of you to think about what touched you in this episode. What related to your experience? Think about are there any pieces of wisdom in this, any insights that you feel you want to take and apply to your life that feel true to you? Take a minute and think about that. I want to thank you all. I look forward to seeing you in the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast. For those folks who are single, go to DeeperDating.com. It is a new place that we have created for thoughtful, caring, single people to meet. I look forward to speaking with you again soon. Blessings on your intimacy journey

  • Swipe Circuitry: How Online Dating Trains Us To Stay Single [EP093]
    Table of Contents

    Swipe Circuitry: How Online Dating Trains Us To Stay Single

    How To Stop Fleeing Love While You Seek It Online

    Swipe circuitry is this incredibly seductive behavior pattern that’s sculpted by online dating, that actually leads us away from the love that we’re seeking. Stay tuned to this episode to learn more about what swipe circuitry is and how you can stop it.

    Hello, everybody and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist, author of the book Deeper Dating, and the Cofounder of DeeperDating.com, a new way for single people to meet online that’s respectful, warm and inspiring. Today, I’m going to talk about what I call swipe circuitry, a behavior pattern in online dating that looks like it can lead us to love, but actually leads us away from it. Every episode, I’m going to share with you the greatest tools that I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing, and heal your life in the process because the real skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of intimacy. Those are the greatest skills of all for a happy life.

    If you want to learn more about the deeper dating path to real intimacy, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com. If you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get free gifts and resources, and you’ll learn a lot more about how to use these ideas to transform your own intimacy journey. I also want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment, and if you’re experiencing any serious psychological conditions, please seek professional help. Finally, if you like what you’re learning here, I would love it if you could subscribe on iTunes or elsewhere and leave me a review. Thank you so much for that and thanks for the amazing reviews that so many of you have left. Let’s jump in.

    We push love away while we’re looking for it.CLICK TO TWEET

    Studies On Swipe-Based Dating Apps

    Let me start out with some pretty amazing statistics. Research from the West Sydney University and the University of Sydney has directly linked the experience of swipe-based dating apps to higher rates of depression and psychological distress. In 2017, there was a study that linked the use of Tinder with negative self-esteem and body shame, but interestingly, not leading to any positive change in diet or eating habits. Another study showed that the app Grindr was way at the top of the apps that made people feel most unhappy. Seventy-seven percent of them admitted that it made them feel miserable. Tinder was up there too, but here is something interesting too, is that 70% of gay relationships began online. Clearly, there is good here. There is potential here. There is capacity here, but there are patterns that get sculpted by what I call swipe circuitry, that gets sculpted by dating apps that do swiping, and get sculpted by dating apps in general.

    Here’s another wild statistic. Less than 10% of matches in swipe apps are consummated with even a hello, because the users keep playing instead of messaging the matches that were already made. This is huge. This is deep and this is so symbolic of the incredible possibilities that exist in online dating, and the behaviors that get sculpted out of these apps that pull us away from really being able to make use of these incredible resources. Less than 10% even get a hello, and these are matches. These are matches that were made. I think that speaks to the gamifying of swipe apps and what happens to us.

    Pushing Love Away While Looking For It

    I’m going to talk about this a little more because it’s really interesting what happens to us. This is what it is, it’s the ways in which we push love away while we’re looking for it. I know for me, this is one of the most profound realizations that I had to have, was that in my desperate and ongoing and relentless search for a relationship, I was pushing love away. I was trusting numbers and I was trusting in getting in great shape. I was trusting meeting lots of people. I was trusting in all of those things, that because they have nothing to do with intimacy, ultimately failed me in my search for intimacy.

    Unavailability has a spice, a kind of umami, that is so lovely, so exciting, so delicious, and so compelling, and really feels like love.CLICK TO TWEETWhether you’re using swiping apps or not, whether you’re using online dating as a tool or not, I think these questions are very powerful. How in the ways that I’m searching for love might I be pushing love away? What are my metaphors for this concept of getting a match and 9 out of 10 times, not even responding? I’ll tell you what some of mine were that I’m clear on. One was consistently looking for people who were sexy, spicy, attractive, desirable, and did not get me or weren’t available. That was one way that I did that. Another way that I did that was, unconsciously, I fled the possibility of real intimacy with peers who could be available. I don’t know if it seemed more boring or claustrophobic or scary to me, but what I told myself is that those people were not exciting enough. That’s a really interesting point, I think.

    Unavailability has a spice, a kind of umami that is so lovely, so exciting, so delicious, and so compelling, and really feels like love. Not so much the experience of living in love, but the experience of longing for love and feeling like it’s almost in reach, but not quite. When you fall for someone who’s not available, there’s no fear, and that is such a relief. I know that was such a relief for me. Unavailable people, I had no fear. Now, if it was someone available, I would start to feel claustrophobic. I would start to lose interest. I would start to feel bored, and the glory of unavailable people was that I could just feel delightful, excitement, and attraction with none of that fear, because there’s a gulp that has to happen. There’s a kind of like a swallowing of discomfort when you go through the process of having someone who is a stranger, who’s available and interested, and wants to enter into your world, actually, go from being a stranger to being someone you deeply bond with is hard and it’s scary.

    Research shows that the degree to which we don’t yet really love ourselves or honor ourselves is the degree to which we’re going to be attracted to people who also don’t really love us, or honor us fully, or are not available. The degree to which we don’t love ourselves enough is the degree to which, when we meet people who are interested and available, we’re going to want to push them away. We’ll have a deep discomfort. This is what I call the wave of distancing. I’ve talked about it a lot. I think it’s one of the greatest, if not THE greatest saboteur of healthy new love. These apps that are constantly bringing you to the next, to the new, are very powerful for getting us over the discomfort that comes with availability. I think that’s a huge reason why so many of these matches aren’t consummated. It’s like, then I’ll have to talk to this person, then I might have to feel obligated to this person. I might not like this person. They might like me and I won’t like them, and that’s kind of exhausting, and you don’t want to have that happen, or maybe they’re kind of exciting and I’m scared because they might not like me.

    DDP 93 | Swipe Circuitry
    Swipe Circuitry: Research shows that the degree to which we don’t really love or honor ourselves is the degree to which we’re going to be attracted to people who also don’t really love us or honor us fully.

     

    Circuitries Of Attraction

    I think something that is very important to understand, if we are trying to have a conscious and effective dating life and search for love, is this concept of circuitries of attraction. I think that all of us have different circuitries of attraction. The two big ones that I talk about a lot are attractions of deprivation and attractions of inspiration. Just to briefly describe those, I’ve spoken about them a lot in different episodes, an attraction of deprivation is where the sexiness, and the attraction, and the desire, at least in part, springs from the sense that someone is almost available, or is almost going to like us. They’re just somehow out of reach, and that is so sexy. It brings up such deep longing inside us, or they don’t fully accept us, or they accept us, but they don’t treasure us, or they miss our jokes and they miss our ideas, and they don’t get kind of our unique genius or our way of seeing the world. We feel like we are not seen or loved or cherished enough, but we almost are enough. We try to get that person to love us more fully, to get our jokes, to understand our unique kind of intelligence, to appreciate our beauty. You know, when you have to try that hard, it means that it’s not working.

    It’s hard to describe how sexy these attractions are and how they pull at us, and how they feel like love, but these are what I call attractions of deprivation. It’s a circuitry all of us have. It’s like that playing hard to get kind of thing activates that circuitry. So much of the men’s seduction techniques are based on triggering that circuitry in women. So much of women’s seduction techniques to get a man are based on not being too available and all those kinds of things. Lots more to say about that in another episode, but the research clearly shows that playing hard to get doesn’t work. We can talk about that more in other episodes. Anyway, those are attractions of deprivation, and how many years or months have we spent lost in those attractions?

    One of the things that happen in those attractions is that we are branded again and again with our feelings of insecurity. They’re branded more deeply into us. They prove the point that we’re not enough, but if we try harder, we might become enough, which translates into we are essentially just not enough. This is a powerful circuitry. It’s one that gets triggered easily, but for almost all of us, it is not our only circuitry. We have another circuitry, which I call attractions of inspiration. That’s when we’re attracted to somebody because of their goodness, their decency, their authenticity, qualities like creativity and originality, but the kind of good qualities, the qualities of decency, goodness, truth-telling, availability, and the kind of consistent, essential, liking and loving of us. Now, this is a different circuitry of attraction.

    When you fall for someone who’s not available, there’s no fear, and that is such a relief.CLICK TO TWEETHere’s a really interesting point. The people that kind of grab at you and excite you deeply and intensely from the beginning often do so because unconsciously, you recognize that they’re not going to love you the way that you want to be loved. That reminds you of ways in your life that you weren’t loved the way that you want to be loved, and that’s very compelling. With attractions of inspiration, that desperate, sexy edge is not there. There’s a sense of goodness. There’s a sense of growing care. There can be such deep, rich, wonderful, fabulous lust. I’m absolutely not saying that can’t be there, but it’s a skill that we need to develop to allow that to happen in an attraction of inspiration, because for many of us, we just want to get out of there. We want to flee.

    How To Do Swiping Differently

    Now, in the land of online dating, what this means is that the people that you swipe most quickly “yes” on, the people that you swipe right on most quickly, are the people who are your scratch-the-itch type in most cases. I’m going to talk about how to do this, how to do swiping differently, but assuming you just kind of go with the sculpted behavior that comes out of this, the people that you’ll swipe right on will often be those real scratch-the-itch types, and those are often attractions of deprivation. All of this happens unconsciously, but it happens. This is not always the case, but it’s often the case. You just recognize that tiny little smirk, maybe that drop of arrogance that’s there, that little bit of superiority that like, you don’t quite name yet, but there’s something sexy there. A distance, a pullback that just grabs you. I know all of these so well from my own experiences.

    You have to look differently for an attraction of inspiration. You need to look for inspiration. You need to look for the qualities of decency, stability, values that you love. You need to look for these things. At a certain point, in my intensives and my courses, there’s a certain point where people reach where they’ve kind of explored their attractions of deprivation, their attractions of inspiration, and they make a pledge, and the pledge is, “No more attractions of deprivation. No more. I won’t do that again. I’m going to close the door on that no matter how sexy it seems. I’m only going to pursue my attractions of inspiration, people with deep goodness, decency, integrity, and a growing sense of availability.”

    DDP 93 | Swipe Circuitry
    Swipe Circuitry: Slow down enough to allow yourself not to be stuck on the type of person you always think you’re attracted to. Instead, slow down enough to feel the quality of chemistry with someone.

     

    When you make that choice, you begin to shift your attraction circuitries. Your circuitry of attractions of inspiration grows, and is watered and fed, just like to a hammer, everything is a nail. The more you’re in this decision to only choose inspiration, the more you will notice inspiration. You’ll notice people you wouldn’t have noticed before. Often, when you’re in that circuitry, a funny thing happens. You start remembering people from your past who were attractions of inspiration that you’ve kind of forgotten about. They come back to the fore. I always say to people, “When you do this kind of work and you grow in these kinds of ways, when people pop up from your past in your mind, and you remember, “That person was good and decent. That was an attraction of inspiration and I wasn’t ready for it.” You can find out what those people are doing. They might be available. It might be a match. I think that’s always good to do. I’ve heard so many stories of people later just becoming friends with these people.

    When you’re swiping, you go into a different zone, you click into a different circuitry. Another interesting piece of research showed that college males often never ever use swiping apps even to hook up, much less to ever even speak or anything. They use it because it builds their self-esteem and it kind of helps them when they’re feeling bored. This is an amazing thing. Now, maybe you’re not using swiping apps. Maybe you’re not even dating online, but this is a very deep thing. What happens with these people who aren’t spicy because of their unavailability, cockiness, arrogance, mild disdain, or addictions? What happens with the people who aren’t those people but are real attractions of inspiration? What do you do with those people, because they just might not be quite as exciting at first. Do you ignore those people? Do you dismiss those people?

    Now, I am not saying that you should be with someone who’s intellectually boring to you, that you should not be with someone who’s not really attractive to you. Of course, you shouldn’t, but I promise you that there are people who are good and decent, who are deeply creative, who have great intellect, who are physically attractive to you and are going to be physically attracted to you. There’s quite a pool of people like that. Those are the people that you want to look for. You’re doing online dating, you’re doing swipe app dating, you’re not doing online dating, the kind of task becomes the same. It is to slow down, to move away from that kind of sped up circuitry, that kind of scratch-the-itch circuitry, because scratch-the-itch circuitry might lead to a hookup. It might lead to a bad relationship. You never know it might lead to a good relationship, but usually that kind of scratch-the-itch circuitry pulls you away from closeness and intimacy.

    The people that you swipe most quickly yes on are the people who are your scratch-the-itch type in most cases.CLICK TO TWEETWhat you want to do is to slow down enough, to allow yourself to not be stuck on the type of person that you always think you’re attracted to. Instead, slow down enough to feel into the quality of chemistry with someone. Often when you do that, it’s a hugely different experience than the experience of just being in your head and thinking, “This person is hot,” or “This person isn’t right for me.” When you slow down enough and you kind of go deep into your feeling state, you will feel different things than what your head is telling you. You want to know what those feelings are, because what those feelings are, are deeper chemistry, and you want to know what that deeper chemistry is.

    This is a really important thing. Take the time to find out, even when you want to flee, even when you want it to get away. This is a story that I often tell. My mentor, John McNeill, who was a brilliant author and theologian, who wrote the book, Taking a Chance on God and The Church and the Homosexual. He’s a hero of mine. I was telling him once in our spiritual direction sessions. I was telling him about somebody I was dating, and in his directing me, because I was saying that this guy was somewhat attractive. He was definitely not a red flag. No, but I wasn’t that interested. John said to me, “Keep dating him, because in time, either he’s going to become more beautiful to you or he’s not, and either way, you will know.”

    We do need to slow down. There are speed bumps with people who are attractions of inspiration. We get scared, but we don’t know it’s freer. In those cases, when that happens, what you want to do is slow down. You want to enjoy and almost fetishize, and appreciate the physical, emotional, and behavioral qualities about them that are sexy to you. You want to enjoy those, but with a little bit of space and a little bit of distance. You don’t necessarily want to force yourself to do sexual or intimate things that you don’t feel ready for. You keep a bit of space. You don’t flee and you don’t force yourself, and you allow this wave of distancing to pass, which it almost always will. When it passes, you will have a clearer sense of, “Is this person right for me, or are they not?”

    Now, we come to a wonderful question, and the question is, what ways do you use to push possible healthy love away while you’re looking for love? Just take a minute to think about that, because your answer is gold. It might be hard to swallow and a little humbling, but it is gold. If you can take that and begin to shift it, it’s just such an important piece of knowledge. I can pretty much assure you that if you do that, if you recognize it, if you admit it, and if you start to act outside of that circuitry, you will grow in wisdom, you will grow in intimacy, and you will speed your path to finding love by a lot. This is another thing, is that online dating is built to keep you looking and not finding, which is why I’ve devoted a lot of time to creating an online resource that is about real intimacy, that incubates intimacy from beginning, hopefully to end, and that’s DeeperDating.com. Please come and visit that site, and explore it. You can now meet people on there. You can create a profile, and you can meet other people and message with them all for free.

    I’d like you to just take a minute, as we move toward closing this episode and think, is there one thing that hit home for you in this, one thing that had charge, that had resonance for you, that felt important and significant around your own dating journey and search for love? Whatever that is, really value that. Just as we are saying, “Don’t move too quickly to the next while you’re dating. Don’t move too quickly to the next, when you have a beautiful insight or an awareness in your own search for love or intimacy journey because those things are gold.” Those are the things that make us stronger and wiser, and lead us to love. Those insights, those revelations have a very big bang for the buck. When we follow them and try to act based on them, doors open. I’ve seen this again and again. It is a beautiful truth. I want to encourage you to swipe slower, notice inspiration, and trust and honor your revelations about how you need to grow in your own search for love, and ways in which you can deepen in your capacity for love, and ways in which you can minimize the degree to which you flee love even as you’re searching for it. Thanks so much for listening and visit me on DeeperDatingPodcast.com or go to DeeperDating.com, and I look forward to seeing you on the next episode.

  • How To Experience Sexual Healing While You’re Still Single: Sex Therapist Mike Moran [EP090]
    Right now, while you’re single, you can give yourself the gift of sexual healing!  During this time, you can heal trauma, discover your own inner sexual language, and learn to honor your body and sexuality in deeper ways than ever before. Join me as I interview Mike Moran, an inspired, compassionate, internationally renowned sex therapist, and the Founder and Director of the Center for Relational Fulfillment.

    Table of Contents

    How To Experience Sexual Healing While You’re Still Single: Sex Therapist Mike Moran

    A Powerful Interview With Sex Therapist Mike Moran

    How can we experience life-changing, powerful sexual healing while we’re single? Stay tuned to the Deeper Dating Podcast as I interview sex therapist, Mike Moran.

    Hello, everybody and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page, and I’m a psychotherapist, the author of the book, Deeper Dating, the Cofounder of the meeting site – DeeperDating.com, and of course, the host of this show. I’m excited today because I am interviewing a dear friend who is also a brilliant sex therapist. Mike Moran is going to be talking to us about how we can experience and create sexual healing before we’re in a relationship. This week and every week, I’m going to share with you the greatest skills I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love, and the skills of love are the greatest skills of all for a happy and meaningful life.

    If you want to learn more about the deeper dating path to real intimacy, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com. You can sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get free gifts and you can get transcripts of each of these episodes, including this one. I also want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It is not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment, and if you’re experiencing any serious psychological symptoms, please seek professional help. Finally, if you like what you’re learning here, it would be a wonderful thank you if you subscribed and left me a review on iTunes or elsewhere. Thank you so much for that. Without any further ado, I want to introduce my dear friend and  deeply respected colleague, Mike Moran.

    Let me tell you a little bit about Mike, why I’m excited to have him on this show. Mike is an LCSW and a psychotherapist, a certified EFT couples’ therapist and supervisor, a certified sex therapist, and a certified inner bonding facilitator based in New York, where he specializes at the intersection of relational and sexual challenges. He’s the Founder and Director of The Center for Relational Fulfillment, and he’s on the board of directors of the New York Center for Emotionally Focused Therapy.

    Mike also presents internationally training therapists on sexual issues in EFT, couples therapy, and he’s also taught graduate courses in marriage and family therapy, and LGBTQ practice at Rutgers University. He offers weekend workshops to couples. Mike says that he views erotic energy as chi, meaning life force or creative vitality, and loves helping people remove the barriers to creating authentic, passionate connection emotionally and sexually. You can learn more about his work by going to FulfilledCouples.com. I know Mike for decades. We’ve worked together many times, and you will get this quality of goodness, decency, intelligence, clarity, integrity, and smarts that he emanates, which is why it’s such a joy for me to have him on the show. Welcome, Mike.

    Thank you, Ken. Thank you for that introduction. I feel all warm inside.

    It’s all true about you. I am so glad to have you here because this is such an important topic that doesn’t get talked about enough, and single people who are not yet in a relationship don’t know the tools that are available to them to grow in their sexuality and their sexual healing while they’re dating, and before they’re in the committed relationship that they’re searching for. The way I would love to start is with you telling us anything about your story and what led you here.

    Sure. I think on a fundamental level, sex, erotic energy has always been very important to me. I am a sexual person. I honor that energy, and I feel like it’s been an integral component to my own healing. I was born with a birth defect that impacted my sex life. I was in sex therapy as a single gay young man in my twenties, and it changed my life. That awakened me to the power of sexual energy, and how if we do our work, it can enlighten us. As I say in my bio, I think of erotic energy, sexual energy as chi, as life force. For so many of us, that energy has been dampened. It’s been tainted by many things, so I help people. I help folks liberate that.

    Trauma occurs in relationships. It is also healed in relationships.CLICK TO TWEETThat is beautiful and powerful. Can you tell us more about how you do that? For our listeners as well, what’s the journey that they can take as they learn from you, as we speak?

    Toxic Beliefs

    I’ve worked with many people over the years. Straight, gay, transgender, gender fluid, who have recognized in themselves that they sense that this wonderful energy, this wonderful life force that lives within them has been tainted, and has been dampened  down. We go on a journey together to learn about how their sexuality, how their sexual energy, their Eros, emerged in their body. How it lives in their body, how it came of being, and then how it lives in their body now, and how the myths, the messages. In our culture, I don’t care if you’re straight, gay, what have you. The culture at large, mainstream culture can do a real number on us. It’s like toxins. We ingest these negative beliefs and messages and myths about sex that can do a number on us and that can hijack our capacity to let that energy flow in us. That’s one of the questions I ask the folks that I work with, “What toxins have you swallowed in the culture at large, in your family culture? What lives within you that, perhaps, you and I can help release, get that poison out of there?”

    That is beautiful and powerful. Let’s have a moment so that all of the audience could think about this. Maybe you even want to take out a paper and pen, or maybe you’re walking or driving and you want to pause this and think about it, but this is a powerful question. You’re saying, Mike, it’s the very first question, it’s where you start on this journey. Let’s all do this for a minute. Let’s sit with this question that Mike asked. Mike, can I ask you to ask it once more, and then we’ll give people a minute to think or to pause, and reflect on it?

    Sure, of course. What toxins have you swallowed that are living in your body from the culture at large, from your family, from your friends? What lives in your body that isn’t authentically you? What messages, what poisons do you need to release to come to embrace a healthy, loving, powerful model of sexuality?

    Beautiful. Here’s something I want to say that I’m going to ask you to address in a minute, Mike, which is for those listeners who have experienced real sexual trauma, this could be a very triggering question. Feel free to answer this in a brief and general way and not to dive in, to be aware of what triggers you. To take care of yourself in the process of answering this question, you might want to answer it on a very broad level. Stand as far away from the trauma as you need to, to be able to look at it, even if it’s from ten miles back and getting a kind of a safe view of it. I wanted to put that in for people who’ve experienced trauma because it’s a rich and important question we all should be able to ask.

    It doesn’t have words. It’s a feeling of shame that I feel goes deep inside my being kind of to the point of curling my toes and my fingers. It’s a sense of shame and it’s a deep belief. Goodness is important to me, and it’s a deeply imprinted belief that sex and goodness are antithetical. That’s a myth that I’ve spent my life working to deal with. I wanted to share mine because it’s such a beautiful question and I wanted to kind of model a little bit of answering that question.

    That’s beautiful, Ken. I’ve worked a lot with shame as I’m sure you have. Personally, and in my work with folks, shame is a big one. Isn’t it? It can hijack our ability to own our truth in our lives. It can just shut us down, and what’s the underbelly of that? What’s going on there? What have we taken in that we haven’t released yet? That is not us, but it’s in us.

    Well said. Asking this question and articulating even more fully, what the words are to that shame? Would that be the next step?

    DDP 90 | Sexual Healing
    Sexual Healing: In mainstream culture, we ingest negative beliefs and myths about sex that hijack our capacity to let the sexual energy flow in us.

     

    Absolutely, to slow things down. You weren’t born with that shame inside you. Something happened there and it came of being. What happened there? What’s the story of how shame began to take over your experience of your sexuality, if indeed that’s occurring?

    Healing Sexual Trauma

    I know there are more questions, Mike, and I have a choice point question for you. What this is bringing up for me, as all the people who are listening, who have experienced sexual trauma and violation? I think I would like to pause and hear any insights because this is huge. It was one of the questions I was going to ask you. If you could address for folks, those of us who have experienced sexual abuse or sexual trauma and have the deep trauma reverberations inside our being, how do people in that situation? Do you have any thoughts you want to share about the healing journey around that?

    I was glad that you added that, Ken, because I’ve worked a lot with sexual trauma. I can talk about a case with a person I’m working with right now. The first thing I would say with this is in order for us to open to our trauma, we have to feel safe enough to do that. If you’re working on your own and beginning to open that box, pay attention to what’s happening for you, pay attention to your body. Sometimes, memories have been kind of stored in there and then they start to emerge. I’ve worked with folks where that’s been the case. If you find yourself feeling that your trauma has limited you and you want to do the work of washing it out, go slow and be gentle.

    As you open to what happened, learn about how, then how you respond to what happened. I’ll tell you why. I worked with a woman who had been date-raped in college. It was interesting. After it happened, she repressed the whole thing. She pushed it down. She forgot about it. She was pretty promiscuous in college afterward, and we wondered if that was a component, if the trauma was playing out on some level. Anyway, it reemerged. After she got married, she had had a satisfying sex life with her partner, but about a year into the marriage, all the trauma came up in front and center, and her body completely shut down. I worked with her for about a year when I’d had the partner come in sometimes. She had an awesome husband. I loved this guy. He was great, but the key was helping her open to that she’s in control, that she’s the one, that she gets to decide about her body. She holds the reigns and nobody else holds the reins around her sexuality. It was a very healing work.

    Since safety is the first order of business for many people working on trauma, it is good to get help, right?

    Absolutely, especially with trauma because it’s overwhelming. Remember, trauma occurs in a relationship, trauma is healed in a relationship. I encourage folks who have had to deal with that to get help.

    Here’s another question. This is not in any way to discount the importance of therapy and doing trauma work, but if trauma can be healed through relationship, how can trauma be healed through your relationship with yourself? Let’s say you’re a single person. You’re not having sex. Maybe you’re having sex occasionally with people that you date. Maybe you’re having recreational sex. Maybe you’re just masturbating and wanting to do your healing work in that. Could you share thoughts in addition to, or on the side, even instead of, therapy, what are ways that people can heal sexual trauma and sexual wounding in their relationship with themselves before they are in a partnership?

    It’s a good question. I relate to it. I think I did a lot of my healing as a single person.

    Own your disabilities from a place of empowerment instead of shame.CLICK TO TWEETI have talked a lot about being in a support group for chronically single psychotherapists, and Mike was one of my support group members. We were in this together.

    We were.

    It was very healing for us.

    I loved that group. I would say, the first step, if you’re going to work on this on your own is do the work on every level. There’s the mind. That’s what we talked about the myths, the messages, do that work, and understand how it lives in your body from an insight perspective. Also, get to know your body. If you had trauma, how does the trauma impact your relationship to your body? How do you feel about your body? I’m working with a gentleman right now who’s had major trauma. I gave him an exercise, “Just lay naked on your bed and notice sensations of what’s happening. Just slow down.” A lot emerged for him because he had never thought to do that before. I would encourage you to slow things down and get to know what goes on inside your head, what goes on inside your body, what’s your relationship to your body? Do your best to keep a deep sense of curiosity,  just noticing it all.

    What a powerful, beautiful, and simple exercise for reflection.

    It can be very powerful. The other thing that I encourage you to do is all of us have what we call an erotic blueprint. All of us have our own unique algorithm that allows our sensual sexual energy to come alive. There’s more direct stimulation. There’s the senses, our  sensuality, and then there’s what we call psychogenic, which is thoughts, feelings, fantasies, what have you. Do some exploration around “what’s your erotic blueprint? How does your sexual energy begin to hum? I ask folks, “How does your erotic engine get turned on and  humming? What happens there?” Get deeply curious because we’re all a little different in that place.

    That’s wonderful. That’s something I talk about too in my book, like different components of that are what moves you in sex. What emotionally moves you? What makes you feel safe, and what turns you on, and holding all of those together is. that’s the rich place. That’s the wonderful place. I want to share, Mike, the genesis of this episode. You and I were in a cafe together maybe 6 or 7 years ago. I don’t know if you remember this, but I remember it so vividly. We were sitting there drinking our ice coffee together, and I asked you, “In your work as a sex therapist at this point,what’s exciting you the most?” What you said was beautiful and powerful to me. I would like you to speak about that a little bit and I’ll say what that was. This is what you said to me.

    Tell me because I don’t remember.

    DDP 90 | Sexual Healing
    Sexual Healing: All of us have our own unique algorithm that allows our sexuality to come alive.

     

    I will tell you and it was awesome. It opened a whole new vista of pathways to healing and a possibility. This is what you said, “This is what interests me. No matter how traumatized someone might be that I am working with, there’s a zone that they can go into where they can be sexual and feel good inside and feel unblocked and unfettered. There’s circuitry that they can go into where things work for them, even if they’ve been traumatized. Even if a great amount of the time they can’t do that, there are times when it’s smooth sailing. They are just in alignment with themselves. I’m fascinated by what it is that allows that to happen.”

    What it is that allows them to drop into that groove where they can celebrate their sexuality in such a satisfying way.

    Tell us what you have learned about what helps people, no matter what, be able to drop into that groove.

    I think a real component is the yearning to do it, the motivation to do it, the persistence to keep learning about, what are the barriers to you claiming your unique, beautiful version to your sexual energy? I’ve worked with folks with all kinds of fetishes. For so many of us that grow up in a culture that denigrates anything that is “other”, it shuts us down before we even know that we’re shutting it down. I’ve worked with many of the fetishes, the Adult Diaper community. I’ve worked with folks were in Puppy Play, which is your erotic energy comes alive through primarily portraying an animal, what have you. The human experience, the mind, the nervous system, all of it is so rich.

    I think with that, those of us who are willing to move beyond the confines of this world that we live in, that tells us that we’re not allowed to be ourselves in whatever’s going on in there, those of us who have the chutzpah to move beyond that, I think that’s the impetus to be able to link into that group. Can you allow yourself to be your erotic self ,in all its glory, whatever that is, however that begins to come alive within you? I think that’s the underbelly of it all. Many people, including myself, have real feelings about claiming that truth and that borrows back to the myth, the messages, the stuff that we’ve taken in that we have to move, we have to release, and we have to throw and vomit out.

    This is great because this is work that everyone, no matter where they are in the spectrum of single to committed couple hood can do. Every one of us can do this, and if you do it now before you’re in a relationship, it will save you a great deal of grief and allow you a great deal more of happiness. This is a wonderful time to be doing that work. Mike, the first thing you talked about so richly was naming the myths that we’ve swallowed our sexual freedom that block us from being who we can be sexually. Now you’ve talked about naming your algorithm, acknowledging what brings you to the place where your heart is alive, your Eros is alive, and you’re turned on and your engine is humming, and I love that. Can you frame that for the audience as a question that we can all sit with for a moment?

    Sure. Let me put it this way, which borrows back to Jack Morin’s work, which is amazing. Think about it this way. Let’s say you’re not turned on at all. You’re not feeling erotic at all, but you would like to be. What are the thoughts, feelings, images, and fantasies? What’s all that you know would be the best bet to help you come alive there, to help your erotic portal open and for you to move into that altered state of Eros coming alive in you? What are all the factors that come into play there? What is it about those qualities? What is it about those that make it so inviting, that make it so enticing? Let’s ponder that for a moment.

    That is beautiful. It is such rich, wonderful stuff. Thank you, Mike. This is great.

    We heal through compassion, not judgment.CLICK TO TWEETYou’re very welcome.

    Was there more you wanted to say there, or should I jump to my next question?

    I think we’re good. Keep jumping, Ken.

    I want to ask about, and this is like a huge range. I’m going to say them all in this one question, but feel free to separate them. What about people who have shame about organic conditions of any sort, who are single and feel scared of entering into a relationship or even the dating world because of shame around disabilities, things in their sexual anatomy, scarring, STDs like herpes, any of these kinds of things that could make people feel, “I know this takes me out of the game?”

    You’re talking my language because I have a birth defect. This is exactly what my journey was and I value the sexual energy that I did this work. I think the key with that is to do your best to let go of seeing your disability, your scarring, your STD, your herpes. Do your best to let go of framing it as this is my illness, this is where I’m damaged, this is my defectiveness. Do your best to soften the gaze and try to see it through the lens of, “This is the body that I was meant to explore, that I was meant to have on this journey of embracing my sexual truth.” In fact, this was part of it. Try to see it as a component of your journey. Try to shift the lens from it being a deficit to more of an attribute of your unique journey.

    Did you do that, Mike?

    I have done that. I have crossed the bridge in that capacity and it’s been very powerful, but it’s hard. It’s not a one conversation thing. That’s a burner.

    I just want to say something about this journey concept because I guess, when we look at ourselves and our defects, whatever they are, are glaring, obvious, and embarrassing. We feel like, “How would anyone be turned on to me?” Maybe we even feel like, “I wouldn’t be turned on to me,” and all of these thoughts that are kind of crushing. The question you asked was not as simple as, “how were these parts of me just fine, just beautiful? How is this actually part of my authentic sexual journey of claiming my sexuality? That’s a shift and that’s very profound, and thank you so much for sharing something so personal with us because then everyone who’s dealing with that can say, “He knows what he’s talking about. He’s been through it.”

    DDP 90 | Sexual Healing
    Sexual Healing: No matter how traumatized someone might be, there’s a zone where they can be sexual and feel good inside, unblocked and unfettered.

     

    It’s developing the capacity to own it but from a place of empowerment versus a place of shame and trying to cover it up, trying to pretend that it’s not there, or foreclosing on your dating or sexual journey because you can’t imagine. You are giving into fear versus claiming it as a component of your journey, of your life that is meant to be there for you to learn from. Ultimately, I see all of life as a classroom. It’s all a classroom and we all have to embrace what we’ve got and what we’ve been given.

    Tips For The Chronically Single

    Mike, this is so beautiful, so rich and I have some more questions for you.

    Sure.

    What about people who’ve been chronically single for a long time and want to get out into the dating world, and are just afraid and feel rusty with dating?

    Ken, you shared. We were in our chronically single therapist group. I think what I would say with that, where I come from that, I think about how I tortured myself about that. I labeled myself. I used it as an identity, “I’m chronically single,” and I’ve been partnered now for thirteen years. I look back at the young man. I used that label to torture myself. I think the first step is, so you’ve been single for a long time. That’s all it means; you’ve been single for a long time. It doesn’t mean you’re defective. It doesn’t mean you’re broken. It doesn’t mean that nobody’s ever going to want to date you.

    All it means is that you’ve been single for a long time. That’s all it means. Don’t take that like Ken and I did and run with that and torture yourself with it. That’s all it is. It’s just data. It’s information. You’ve been single for a long time. What’s your next step toward taking a risk and getting up there again? If you want to internet date, great. If you don’t, great. If you want to take a class, I had a client, who met her partner in an Italian class. She took an Italian class and ended up meeting her partner. What’s your next step? Seeing it through the lens of this, I keep coming back to this word, journey.

    Do your best not to focus on this destination of, “Where is my partner?” See it as a journey of moving toward this person. I remember and it is true, it’s such a cliche when they talk about it, it comes out of nowhere, what have you, but it is true. When I met my partner, I met my partner at  Big Apple Ranch, which is a gay square dance in the middle of Manhattan. I remember the night so well because it was all I could do not to cancel. If I hadn’t promised my friend to meet him at this thing, I would never have gone. I remember getting into the shower and being like, “Why am I going to this thing?” I don’t even like country music. I just was not there, but I showed up and my partner was there and I’ve been with him for thirteen years. You just don’t know. You just have to keep taking the next step and do your best to not frame it from a negative place.

    Mike, I’m smiling because I quote you all the time in my classes and my courses without mentioning who you are. This is another thing that relates to that because when you were searching, or maybe it was when you first met Steve, and I said to you, “What are you doing now that’s different?” You said, “Ken, I’ll tell you what I’m doing. I get home from work and the last thing I want to do in the world is to take a shower and get dressed and go out.” It literally makes me feel sick to my stomach, but I know that if I don’t do that and go to events where there are spiritual gay men, I will never find my partner, and I quote you on that all the time.

    Sexual energy is powerful. It’s beautiful energy. It’s healing energy. It’s vitality. It’s an awesome part of living on this planet.CLICK TO TWEETIt is because that’s exactly what happened when I met Steve. I’m telling you; I remember getting into the shower like I can’t breathe. I’m dragging my butt up the Seventh Avenue. I lived in the West Village at the time. I think I remember that walk. I was dragging myself into that building, but it’s true, we have to get in the ring, don’t we?

    We have to get in the ring and the ring also includes doing the rich sexual questioning and mining of treasures that you are describing. I have another question for you. I want to talk about the whole issue of hooking up. This is a show for people who are into the conscious search for love so we don’t talk that much about hooking up. I think many people here don’t do that. I think that there are also many people who do that and wonder how they feel about it, and wonder if it’s a good thing to do. I would like us to talk for a few minutes about this issue of this conscious journey of healing. If your commitment is toward healing, and you’re single and you want sex, how to hold this issue of hooking up? I would love to hear any of your thoughts.

    Firstly, I want to preface this by saying, I’m a sex-positive sex therapist. What I mean by that is, if the sex is consensual, respectful, and safe and everybody in the room, regardless of how many people are in the room, are having pleasure, if everyone is having pleasure, then rock and roll. I don’t judge any of that. Now, that said, if you’re recognizing that who you are in that context, your behavior, what you’re doing, if you are starting to get those inner promptings of, “This is not really reflective of my deepest truth. This is not reflective of who I want to be. This is not my wisest self that’s doing that.” You’re wanting to deepen into, “What is my wisest self with respect to the challenging conundrum of being a sexual being?”

    Some of us have very high sex drives, and being single and needing that release and needing that outlet. Trust me, I very much empathize with that. That said, if you’re feeling like, “This is not who I want to be here,” do some exploration. What is the part of you that’s doing the hooking up? What is that part wanting? What’s going on there? Do your best to open to compassion. We heal through compassion, not judgment. Do your best to soften the gaze, let the inner critical wounded part of you ask him or her to step outside for a moment and do some compassionate learning about, “What’s happening in this place? What’s going on?”

    There’s the part that is doing something here. There’s the part that is acting in a way that’s not in alignment with who you want to be, and so you want to get curious, partner with this part of you. Learn about what’s going on there. It may feel better to hook up and to engage in casual sex in a way that ultimately doesn’t feel right to you, but maybe it’s serving you because it’s helping you not feel more vulnerable feelings. Maybe it’s helping you to distract yourself from feelings that otherwise would be knocking on your door. What I say with that is to get curious, slow down, and learn about it. Whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up. There are always good reasons for why this stuff plays out the way it does.

    Beautiful. Thank you, Mike. I agree with you. It’s important that even when we are acting in ways that might be not great for us sexually, that we still hold the beauty of our sexuality and remember that first and primarily. That’s wonderful. Mike, you’ve shared so many rich, wonderful things. One thing that I’ve appreciated is you have articulated all of these kinds of thorny and important and highly charged issues as a journey that we can be kind to ourselves around and curious and exploratory, which is what I love about your work and why I so wanted to have you on the show.

    I’m glad you picked up on that, Ken. It’s a fundamental tenet of how I work with folks and I help them open to their journey through the eyes of compassion, not judgment.

    You have been through that journey and we are all on that journey together.

    DDP 90 | Sexual Healing
    Sexual Healing: When you’re single for a long time, it means you’re single and nothing else. Don’t torture yourself by thinking you’re defective.

     

    We are, indeed.

    Mike, we’re moving toward closing now and in a minute, I’m going to ask you to talk about how people could get in touch with you and reach out and find out more about your work and take part in it if they’re moved to do that, but first, are there any last closing words that you want to share with this community?

    This borrows back to what we touched on earlier in our conversation, but I think what I want to emphasize is erotic energy and sexual energy are powerful. It’s a beautiful energy. It’s healing energy, it’s a vitality, it’s aliveness , it’s such an awesome part of living on this planet. As we all well know, living on this planet can be challenging, but it’s like anything. It can be used in the service of the best parts of ourselves or it could be used in the service of these wounded parts. I think the key is to honor the energy, honor how powerful it is, honor its role in your life because, of course, that looks different for everybody. Respect it because it’s a beautiful part of living, in my opinion.

    Mike, that’s wonderful. I just want to acknowledge you and all the other folks in the world who are brave adventurers in exploring sexual healing because it’s still is so taboo and limited in this world and in this country. This is a statement of gratitude for all the people working on sex and sexuality in the world, and to you in particular. For everyone who wants to explore this more fully, some of the things that Mike talked about, who want to learn from him, hear more about what he’s doing, what he believes in, what he’s studying, what he’s teaching, how can people find out everything about you, Mike?

    Just go to my website, it’s www.FulfilledCouples.com, and if you want to email me directly, my email is [email protected]. That’s the easiest way.

    Mike, I can’t thank you enough for your years of loyal and wonderful friendship, for the work that you’re doing in the world, and for sharing this with us.

    Likewise, Ken. I remember us doing the retreats back in the day where I would do the music and we’ve had a rich journey together.

    It’s true. Mike is a musician and a songwriter, by the way, as well. Mike, thank you. Thank you everybody for listening. You can go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com to sign up for my mailing list. I look forward to seeing you on the next episode. Just a reminder that at this point, I’m only doing episodes every two weeks for the time being, so see you then and thank you so much. Thank you, Mike, once again.

    Thanks, Ken.

  • Deeper Dating Q&A: Expert Advice For All Your Questions About Love, Dating And Sex [EP088]
    Listeners bring their most important questions about love, sex, dating, and relationships to host Ken Page and get his personal direct advice in Ken’s Q and A podcasts. Today’s subjects include institutionalized racism in online dating, feeling gun-shy about dating after bad experiences, a new boyfriend who sometimes doesn’t text back, and more.

    Table of Contents

    Watch the episode here:

    Deeper Dating Q&A: Expert Advice For All Your Questions About Love, Dating And Sex

    Your Questions Answered By Ken

    Today’s episode is the Deeper Dating Q&A, where I answer your most pressing personal questions about love, sex, and intimacy. You’ll leave this episode with new possibilities and hopefully, some important revelations about your own love life. Stay tuned to the Deeper Dating Podcast.

    Hi, everybody and welcome to the Deeper Dating podcast. I’m Ken Page, and I’m a psychotherapist, the author of the book, Deeper Dating and the Cofounder of DeeperDating.com. I’m excited to be with you here today when I answer your questions about love, romance, and intimacy. This week, and every week, I’m going to share with you the greatest tools that I know to help you find love and keep it alive and if you want to learn more about this approach, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com. You can get some free gifts there and you can join my mailing list as well. Today, I have gotten some really wonderful questions, and I’ve gotten a lot of questions too.

    I’m thrilled about this. A ton of people wrote questions or recorded questions, and any of you can do that as well by just going to DeeperDatingPodcast.com and then you click on Ask Ken, and you can leave me any question that you want. I’m thrilled about all the different questions, and I think they have some basic themes around communicating about difficult things, but I’m super excited to dive in, in one moment. I just need to tell you one thing, a little bit of news about the podcast, which is, I am, unfortunately, or fortunately going to need to move the podcast to be every two weeks for a period of time instead of every week.

    I’m devoting myself, kind of heart and soul, to this new platform called DeeperDating.com, which is a way to help single people meet in a way that’s respectful, thoughtful, fun, reflective, and kind of follows the values that I really try to teach here of kindness, connection and authenticity. I’m super excited about that. Please visit DeeperDating.com. Join our mailing list. We are starting to have events now, in all different parts of the country we are just beginning to grow, but I’m devoting myself to that. I’m kind of trying to, as they say, “To write is human to edit is divine.”

    Choosing Partners

    I think to do is human and to edit one’s doing is divine and very hard for me as a workaholic, but I am going to be still doing the podcast, but just once every two weeks now, at least for a period of time, as I help DeeperDating.com come into life in the world. Thank you for understanding that. Let me jump right now into the questions. I’m going to answer these a little bit more quickly than I usually do because there are so many questions that I’ve gotten. The first one is from my friend, Maria Elena from Mexico, and Maria Elena asked it’s a wonderful question. She said, “I have a really strong personality and I have been attracted to, and I attract men who also have really strong personalities and characters. These relationships have ended quickly and have not done well. Should I instead be looking for somebody with a gentler nature because I have a really strong personality has an easier lighter personality who can accommodate me so that we’re not kind of butting heads together?”

    That was her question. I’m going to answer this question, but I also just want to encourage, I’d love there to be a kind of crowdsourcing thing, because I think that I can kind of come up with little chunks of wisdom or insight that might be really important and sometimes a really central, and sometimes they’re not as central. In my groups, in my intensives, I’ll share things and then, other people will share things that hit at the heart of things better than I could have. If anything you hear in terms of my answers or anybody else’s question inspires you to give a different response or a different angle, I’d always appreciate that and you can just go to, again, DeeperDatingPodcast.com, click Ask Ken, and share your perspectives. I can try to pass those on where it’s possible to do that. My thought about this is that, if two people with a really strong personality come together, there definitely is room for a particular kind of greater conflict, but I think that if a stronger person and a more passive person come together, there’s also room for more of that difficulty.

    If two people with really strong personalities come together, there definitely is room for a particular kind of greater conflict.CLICK TO TWEETI personally think, ultimately, it’s about the skills of intimacy, more than anything else, because sometimes, really different even conflicting styles can be exciting and can add a sense of life and variety if both partners are willing to learn the other person’s language of being, and style of being. I think It’s more about communication skills. You’ve got a strong opinion, your partner has a strong opinion, how can you both hold that together as the couple that you are and talk about it, work it through and express what’s going on? I think it’s more about communication than particular kind of character styles.

    Although obviously, different character styles are going to create a different recipe for a relationship, but I really do think ultimately, if a person is not abusive, if you are not abusive, that it’s just so much more about learning the kind of like deeper, basic communication skills. Thank you, Maria Elena, for asking that question. Next, Jordan asks a question. Jordan is working on the Deeper Dating book and is in chapter two and that’s fabulous. Those are really rich chapters and has met somebody wonderful. The connection is great, the physical sexual connection is great. She feels comfortable in her own skin with this person more than she ever has since she’s been eighteen years old.

    These are all wonderful things and I just love hearing that. I’m thrilled that you are leading with who you are and you found somebody with whom you can be who you are and she says, the communication is great. Recently though, she has left some texts and not gotten responses to them and that’s really scary because her experience in the past has also been with guys who are cheating on her and who she believes that are in a monogamous relationship with her but in fact, they’re cheating on her. These kinds of like dropped texts are a real sign of that.

    It’s very scary and Jordan feels like she’s going to talk to him about this whole issue of monogamy because that’s what she wants and she just asked for some advice on how to do that. First of all, I just want to say you if are with someone with whom you can communicate and whom you feel so good with those are signs in all probability of deep growth on your part. What I would say in the simplest terms is that you do need to talk to him and you can share that there has been trauma and wounding for you. It’s a funny point that you’re at because Jordan says they’d been on a handful of dates, I figured maybe like 4 maybe 5 dates, something like that.

    Feelings can really be growing deeply at that point, but it’s kind of early to say we are going to absolutely move to monogamy in some cases because some people who might and will be ultimately available, aren’t ready to say that yet, after just that many dates. I think one question there is, is this a shared commitment? Is this something that he believes in, is looking for, and aspires to? Does he feel like that is a direction that he sees this possibly going in so that there’s space for him as well? You can share, and there needs to be room for the fact that this is scary and difficult for you and then continue the conversation from there.

    The Color Of Love

    I think that you might actually become closer as you have that conversation, but I also want to really encourage you because you have trauma there, and kind of a hallmark of trauma is black and white thinking. It’s easy to go to the biggest fears and that’s not something he necessarily needs to be responsible for in the communication. I say, if you have dear friends who honor your commitment to monogamy and are spacious and nonjudgmental, talk to them and get support to help you be able to really talk to him from an open space. I’m excited for you and let us know what happens. Next question or request, Lou left a message and thanked me for the podcast and the work that I’m doing and asked if I would reflect on kind of some of the issues of what it is like for people of color, to face the institutionalized racism that they experienced so often in online dating?

    DDP 88 | Love Advice

    Love Advice: The world surprises us with who we meet. Bravery, expression, and protection of other people are the deepest values of activism. In that way, allow yourself to be surprised.

     

    Thank you so much for this question, Lou. I have a number of thoughts that I want to share. As a white person who has not directly experienced this, but has certainly experienced a lot of other kinds of oppression and prejudice, I’m just going to speak from my heart about some of the things that I’ve seen and I’ve been touched by and I’m aware of. Somehow the impersonality of online dating and the objectification that happens so much in online dating allows people to be more cruel than they would normally be and allows for blatant racism under the guise of, “This is just who I’m sexually attracted to.” Microaggressions direct ugliness. Even though the research shows that there’s more, there are more interracial couples now as a result of how online dating mixes things up and mixes people up and blends worlds in different ways there is also just a huge amount of institutionalized racism.

    There’s very poignant research that shows directly how facing this kind of racism in online dating leads to feelings of low self-worth, depression, and anxiety, which makes perfect sense because the desire for a loving partner and wanting to be included in the world and connected in that way and connected with someone goes so deep. It’s so profound that a shut door in our face an institutionalized shut door in our face, it causes pain on so many different levels. There was a New York Times modern love column called Trying to Feel Love-Worthy (While Working for a Dating App), by Loré Yessuff in July 2020, that was so poignant to me and it speaks to this and I just would love to read just some of the things that she wrote. She describes herself as having this job opportunity of getting to work in customer service for an online dating site.

    She says, “I was a recent college graduate, recovering from a breakup, longing to be with someone who didn’t want to commit to me. It was my first breakup but as a black woman, I was not new to heartache. This pain felt familiar. The symptoms are easy to decipher. It always starts in the throat, hums in the chest, and drops to the lowest point of the belly, sharp, thick burning. The first time I felt it was in second grade on the school bus when two white boys screeched at me saying I was ugly while tugging on my newly plaited braids. I was so shocked that I froze waiting for the mockery to end. Far too many black women are taught that romantic fantasies do not belong to us, that we are never someone’s 1st, 2nd, or 3rd choice and that we should feel lucky if we are wanted, which really means that we should feel suspicious.”

    This is a beautiful piece and it continued and it talked about some research that showed that black women are among the least likely the ones, who were going to among those who received the least attention of any category on dating apps. Another group is Asian men. This led me to kind of look into the research on this, and it’s been fascinating and painful to see how institutionalized racism like, for example, race filtering, searching and filtering under race is so prevalent. How some algorithms of dating sites actually assume without being told that people are more interested in people of the same race? Online dating, I believe can be used as a vehicle for healing and communication in some ways, some powerful ways and it can also be used as a tool to harden and further the toxicity of racism.

    Same Sex Relationships

    As someone who’s creating an online dating site, this is something that feels deeply, deeply important for me to be a part of the healing process in that. Please, look forward to an upcoming panel where I’m going to bring together participants, researchers, people of color who use the sites, and just a kind of group of people to really talk about this. I used to do a lot of workshops for a group of a wonderful group called Men of All Colors Together, where people of all different races would get together and it was a place where people could meet romantically, but also could converse and heal. It was just a beautiful, beautiful group and I wish that online dating could actually allow for that kind of healing. I believe that there are ways that it can. Lou, I’m so appreciative of your question and I just want to honor kind of the pain  and the ruefor so many people who experience those closed doors in a place that is so tender and matters so much. The next question was a beautiful question from a woman who is doing the deeper dating process. She says, she’s on stage two in the four stages of this journey, the first stage is a discovery of your core gifts, your kind of deepest sensitivities and passions.

    You’re inner-most self and learning to honor that. The second stage is understanding attraction patterns more deeply, and getting a deeper sense of making choices to only pursue what I call attractions of inspiration versus attractions of deprivation. The third stage is the getting out there in a way where you lead with your authenticity and only choose people who resonate with that and make you feel safe inside. The fourth stage is the rewiring that has to happen when we meet somebody where it’s a healthier relationship. Anyway, this woman says that she’s in stage two and doesn’t feel like so ready to meet people because she’s been in bad relationships before, she’s gay.

    A hallmark of trauma is black and white thinking.CLICK TO TWEETShe met a woman recently who seemed like her type, and she’s noticing that a part of her is feeling like, “I don’t want to lose this opportunity.” Another part is saying, “I don’t want to jump in again. I don’t want to get hurt again. I also don’t know if this woman is a lesbian or if she’s straight. That’s kind of scary too. How do I know what to do? I want to honor this part of me that wants to protect myself and let my growth happen and don’t get lost in relationships again but I also don’t want to lose an opportunity?” This is a fabulous, fabulous question, just some thoughts that I have here are big question, I think are the signs of the person’s actual character.

    One thing is you are going to have to find out like pretty soon, if this person is attracted to women, also. You will need to do that, it’s scary, but you’ll need to do that and that will be a good thing because then you’ll know. You shouldn’t wait too long – so many people wait so long with that, just because of internalized homophobia, shyness, and timidity. I want to encourage you not to do that. The other thing is, I think that you should get to know who this person is and make the decision not based on any abstractions, but based on who she is and how she acts – her character. Is there decency? Is there goodness? Is there kindness? Is there authenticity? Are those things consistent or pretty consistent?

    If the answers to those things are yes, then at least this person could be a friend, but I think that it’s like kind of being in a dark room and not knowing where the furniture is and you don’t want to walk into the room and bang yourself up. I think it’s important to go  in carefully and ask yourself the question again and again, “Does my soul feel safe with this person?” Notice the feelings of safety or unsafety that resonate for you and you’ll often know the difference between what’s fear and what’s actually a sense of what doesn’t feel safe. The more you practice this, the more you will know that. Good luck, be brave, and this growing desire to honor yourself, that’s almost coming before anything else. I hear that loud and clear and it’s wonderful.

    A fabulous question from Miriam who said, “I’m an activist and that’s really important to me. That’s very central to my value system and I really feel like I want to be with someone else who is also an activist, is that fear-based or is that just a kind of honoring of who I am? What my values are and what matters to me?” I love this question and it’s actually a question that I’ve heard other times as well and here’s what I would say. You totally have to start out by treasuring this and realizing that being with someone who  is an activist would be wonderful and celebrate that, absolutely. I’m going to make a jump to this, how do you find that online? Because that was another thing she said is, how do you find that? You use filters with sophistication, you figure out the keywords, activism, ecology, Black Lives Matter, anti-racism, homophobia, whatever keywords, like get a whole bunch of them and look for, do searches for people who have those words in their profile. You can also go to Facebook groups and find groups that have lots of members that also share those same values. I say, go for that, treasure it, it’s wonderful and it’s fabulous. I would also say though, that there are different kinds of activism. There are people who are quiet activists, people who you see them be honest, and be kind when it’s really hard, to be honest, and kind, and that’s a kind of activism.

    An Anxious Couple

    I am not saying that to steer you away from knowing that you’d love to be with someone who’s an activist, but I am saying that the world surprises us with who we meet. The basic values of bravery, expression, protection of other people, etc, are really the deepest values of activism. I would say in that way, allow yourself to be surprised. Next, Dinah is 67 and has met a really wonderful guy. She is thrilled. She is very appreciative of this work and she’s so excited because this guy is wonderful and they can really communicate. She’s just so happy about the relationship, but she had a few concerns. One concern is that she has an anxious attachment style, so does he. When he gets kind of anxious, she experiences him as clingy, and then she pulls away, that was one piece, but she said, “We talk about it and that’s what really matters. We kind of like work it through and address it.” That’s what I would say is that’s the key, the question, outside of situations of abuse or unstabilized, serious psychiatric disorders. I think that the ability for a couple to hold differences, difficulties, ambivalence, and talk about it with openness, kindness, and care is the heart and the soul of a great relationship. It sounds like you have that heart and soul of a great relationship.

    What I think is, what I would say is that when you feel the clinginess and you feel that desire to avoid, questions are, how can you take care of yourself? When we feel suffocated or when we feel another person is not kind of able to hold up their own weight and we have a kind of primal fear reaction, or we just want to pull away, it’s often easy to beat ourselves up for that, “I can’t love, I’m not capable of loving. Why am I not more steady in my attraction or connection?” We need first to make space, “I feel kind of like this person is being clingy, what kind of space do I need? How much space do I need so that I could still say close, but feel like I could breathe? What kind of connection do we need now so that I don’t get lost in this? What do I need? What do I think he needs?” The minute we can take the time to ask ourselves those questions, and then you will get answers. You will get ideas and you will get insights if you can hold that dilemma with that kind of respect and gentleness. When you get those insights, then you find a way to share them and you do it in a way that’s kind, in a way that honors you and honors the other person. These are going to be the issues that the two of you if you stay together are going to have forever. What you’re doing is building language bridges between your different styles of being, or in this case, your similar styles of being. That’s my thought there.

    DDP 88 | Love Advice

    Love Advice: A couple’s ability to hold differences, difficulties, and ambivalence and talk about it with openness, kindness, and care is the heart and soul of a great relationship.

     

    Digital Honesty

    The other thing that she asked is she said, “He has some real health concerns. We’re both kind of a little bit older and that’s a risk because I’m really active and I want to live a really rich, good life and that concerns me too.” What I would say about that is, that is such a deeply personal existential question, let the bond keep growing and let it grow, let it grow. As it grows, you will come closer to knowing what your decision is and what’s going to be right for you. That’s so dependent on so many factors, but you just want to know that if it’s not going to work, you didn’t leave out of fear. It sounds like there’s so much good here, it sounds like the preponderance of good is huge in this case. Mostly I would say have fun, including learning to have fun with some of the difficult communication stuff. The next question is from Joanne, and Joanne, thank you for your kind words about my book. Joanne was saying that, that she has been meeting some people and they haven’t been ready to speak on the phone or on video. They’re happy to message. They do  do video with their family, but they’re not ready to do video or phone with her.

    She says, “I don’t mind waiting a few weeks. I don’t even mind necessarily waiting a month, but longer than that, I begin to wonder if they’re being honest with me about who they are.” I would say to you, I agree. I think that’s, you know, over a month of refusing to speak on the phone or on video, using reasons like, “I’ve got difficult things going on, or I’m not feeling well.” Those do sound like excuses to me if we’re talking about over a month. I say, trust your intuition, but speak to the person and be really direct and ask them for greater clarity and tell them that this is uncomfortable for you. You could ask them when they will be ready to do this, or you could say to them, “This is something that at this point I need to be able to do.”

    I think you have a right to, because that’s a really, really long time not to be doing that. Especially, for people who do that regularly with their family. I’d say probably your sense of concern is valid but once again, I guess that’s kind of the message of this episode, speak to them, tell them really what you’re feeling, and then take it from there. Thank you. I still have a number of questions that people have asked that I didn’t get to, and I won’t be able to get to in this episode. I’m not going to wait for my normal four-plus weeks to do my next Q&A. It’s going to be much sooner than that. Those of you who didn’t get your questions answered, I’m going to do my best to do that in the next Q&A episode.

    What I would like to ask you to do now, is to think for a moment since this kind of a theme of talking about the hard stuff has been such a rich theme of this episode, where for you in a relationship, might there be a place where something’s difficult to talk about but could be talked about with the person who is good and decent and listens to you and where there’s that kind of safe relationship. Just take a minute. I think we all have a place where we could say, “I could say something more here. There’s something I haven’t talked about that I feel that’s sitting in my heart.” Of course, those things overall, really do bring us closer, although they may be difficult and they may not just be one single conversation. Take a moment to think about that and I encourage you to give that a shot, do a field trip, an honesty, authenticity field trip, where you get to share that. Again, my apologies to all the people that I didn’t get to yet, I will hopefully get to you pretty soon. Thank you all for listening and I look forward to speaking with you on the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.

  • How To Discover Your Intimacy Shadow [EP085]
    All of us have essential aspects of ourselves that we’ve learned to hide or suppress in order to protect ourselves. When we claim these “shadow parts,” we profoundly increase our capacity for love and we find access to a tremendous sense of personal power. In this episode, you’ll learn to identify your own intimacy shadow and use it to lead you to love – and your own unique life-genius.

    Table of Contents

    How To Discover Your Intimacy Shadow

    How To Unshackle Your Potential For Authentic Love

    Discovering and embracing your intimacy shadow is the key to unlocking your potential for authentic love. Stay tuned to this episode to learn more.

    Hi, everybody. Welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. This is Ken with his croaky cold voice. I’m a psychotherapist and a coach and the author of the book Deeper Dating, the co-founder of the online meeting event DeeperDating.com, and the host of this show. Today in this podcast, I’m going to help you understand how you can discover and embrace what I call your intimacy shadow. This week and every week, I’m going to share with you the greatest tools that I know to help you find love, keep it flourishing, and heal your life in the process because the real skills of dating are just the skills of intimacy. If you want to learn more about this approach to finding and keeping love, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com. You can sign up for my mailing list, get free gifts, and get transcripts of every episode.

    If you like what you’re hearing here, it would be a fabulous thank you if you could leave a review on iTunes or elsewhere. The last thing I want to say is that everything I’m going to share in this podcast is educational in nature, it’s not medical or psychiatric advice. If you’re experiencing any serious psychological symptoms, please do seek professional help. Okay, let’s jump in. Thank you for bearing with my croaky voice. I’m excited about recording this podcast and I’m just going to go with it in my current croaky voice but hopefully, we’ll have my regular voice back really soon. Something I talk about a lot is that the parts of ourselves that we think we need to airbrush out in order to be attractive and to find love are actually, and this is just such a mystery, are the keys to finding love. They’re the keys in a few different ways. One way that these parts of ourselves that we feel timid about revealing are the key to finding love is because they are our genius.

    They are our deep sensitivity and passion. That’s why we’re so careful around them. That’s why we can be hurt so much there, but they are the land of our genius. They explain what hurts us. They explain what fills our hearts and they teach us who is right for us. Another reason though that they are so pivotal, so important, is because they are essential parts of our being. When we cut them out, when we airbrush them, when we deny their ferocity, their tenderness, their original truth, it’s like we are shutting our beings down. When we don’t honor those parts of ourselves and honoring doesn’t necessarily mean speaking because these parts of ourselves are not meant for all company. They’re deep, they’re tender, they’re powerful. We don’t just run through life expressing them everywhere. It’s a journey.

    Your Intimacy Shadow

    DDP 85 | Intimacy Shadow
    Intimacy Shadow: As we learn, as you learn, as I learn to perceive these parts of ourselves that are our shadow parts as gifts and not as liabilities, life starts to really make more sense.

     

    It’s an entire life journey to learn to bear the tenderness and the ferocity of those parts of ourselves but always, always the place to start is with the naming them, the identifying them, and the developing a sense of their power and their beauty and their worth, no matter what we’ve been told or taught. When we don’t do that, there are repercussions. Some of the repercussions are that we choose people who do not know how to honor these parts of us. We get involved in a drama where we try to get them to love us for who we are even though it’s an essentially failed task because it’s based on our not being able to dignify those parts of ourselves. It’s being enacted with someone who also doesn’t know how to dignify those parts of ourselves.

    The beautiful thing, and I talk about this all the time, is that the more we name and treasure and honor those parts of ourselves, the more our attractions change. This is the single greatest piece of good news that I know for anybody seeking love. The more you name these parts of yourselves, we’re going to talk more about how to do that in this episode, the more you will find yourself attracted to and meeting people who know how to treasure these parts of you. It’s an amazing and essential truth but it’s not one we really get taught.

    Other kinds of repercussions are that when we bury these parts of ourselves, we often feel shame and we often feel anger. We might not let ourselves consciously feel that anger but it’s there, because who wants to be imprisoned? Who wants to be crushed? Our gifts certainly get pissed off if that happens to them. Who wants to be confined to a container that denies us freedom and self-honoring? There’s an anger that may be consciously felt or not. Also, what happens is when we can’t honor these parts of ourselves, which I call our intimacy shadow and I’ll tell how to know them in a few minutes. When we can’t, our ways of handling these parts of ourselves in the world will be essentially immature.

    They will be a child’s method of self-protection. They will include kind of acting out, suppressing, shame, and indirect expression of our frustration, and our pain, and not being in a place where we honor the very core of our being, which is constantly emanating expression, experience, and aliveness, and the desire for authentic connection with the world. When we shut that down, it creates a number of cycles of pain and then modern dating advice does not help us because it doesn’t tell us that this radical authenticity is the path to finding love. It tells us, no, we have to fix ourselves. We have to change ourselves. We have to flirt better.

    We have to become these people that will just make women fall to their knees or make men worship us at our feet like all of this crap that ultimately deeply, deeply takes us away from the serious, beautiful journey of finding love through authenticity. These essential parts of ourselves that we have learned to hide or suppress in order to protect ourselves are our shadow parts. When we claim them, we find our heart, we dramatically increase our capacity for love, and we find access to a tremendous sense of personal power and also creativity, sense of freedom, Eros, and just aliveness. This reflects the most profound and meaningful paradox that I have encountered in my three and a half decades of practice as a psychotherapist. It’s this, the parts of ourselves that we fear will scare love away are actually, in the end, the missing link to finding that love.

    At the end of the day, the parts of ourselves that we feel will scare love away can be the missing link to finding deeper love.CLICK TO TWEET

    Your Core Gifts

    I’m going to give you a question that’s going to help you find your own intimacy shadow. On the surface, it’s going to appear really innocuously simple but if you tackle it honestly and you could do this, just like with all the other podcasts, you can like do it as you walk, do it as you drive, do it as you’re just listening, do it right now. Just answer the questions right as you go along. When you do that, it will point you to potentially the most exhilarating challenge of your life. Here’s the question? What aspects of yourself are you the most uncomfortable, hesitant, or timid to reveal in your relationships? All of us have parts of ourselves where we feel things more deeply than other people. Life just affects us really more deeply around these attributes and I call these our core gifts, and they’re the heart and the soul of the path that I teach. In fact, I’m starting new sets of intensives now, and these are six months intensives, and we spend almost half of the intensive on the discovery and the naming of our core gifts.

    You can learn so much more about this from my book Deeper Dating, or my audio course as well, or any of my other courses. These core gifts are the rudder of our being. We feel joy and pain most intensely at these points and the intensity of our experience with the joy or the pain often makes us feel uncomfortable and also somehow different than the people around us. Let me give you some examples and see if any of these hit you or feel true to you. An unrelenting desire for connection, a passion that is so intense that it could feel aggressive, a generosity of spirit so powerful that it can hurt, a quietness or softness of nature that you might have deemed as weak. A passion for truth that has gotten you in trouble again and again and again, a sensitivity so strong that sometimes even seemingly tiny experiences knock you down at the knees, or just gusts of emotion so strong that they bewilder you or embarrass you.

    These are your core gift places. These are the language of yourself. These are the places that the world does not teach us how to embrace their wildness, their tenderness, their vastness, essentially. They are the key to deeper love including essential love of self, but often those parts of ourselves are taken advantage of, or abused, or neglected because they’re so unique. They’re so vulnerable and people milk those qualities sometimes in us, instead of honoring them like milking our generosity, our competency, our capacity.

    In addition, like all special gifts and talents, like all genius, these parts of ourselves demand inordinate amounts of fuel, maturity, and wisdom, and training, which most of us never receive. As a result, these parts of ourselves become repositories of our deepest insecurities but they also hold the key to understanding why love evades us and Jung explained this beautifully through his seminal concept of the shadow. According to Jung, the shadow is our disowned self. It’s the parts of ourselves that we think are unlovable, unworthy, too strange, unacceptable.

    They’re the parts of ourselves that really do spawn our deepest insecurities but they’re also the parts of ourselves that hold our greatest gifts. How amazing that we have been built this way, that the universe works this way, that this is kind of the deeper physics of finding and keeping love? How amazing that is that the last place we want to look is the first place we should be looking, which is in the magic that we’ve been hurt by inside us, so we’ve pushed aside. How powerful, what an amazing story that is. It’s kind of an epic journey and it is the epic journey of deeper love. Ultimately, when we suppress those parts of ourselves, it protects us from immediate pain, but it keeps deeper love forever at arm’s length and it leaves us with a sense of emptiness and insecurities that eat at us.

    DDP 85 | Intimacy Shadow
    Intimacy Shadow: The more you claim your shadow parts, the more you will find yourself attracted to people who know how to treasure those parts of you.

     

    To protect these parts of ourselves, we create immature defenses that are self-sabotaging, but they’re the best we could do that push away the very love we desire. Another thing that happens, and this is like, it’s an amazing corollary, the degree to which we push those parts down is the degree to which we’re going to be drawn to people who can’t love us for who we are or that we find that we meet people who can love us for who we are and we can’t sustain the dynamic joy of true intimacy in our love relationships. That’s because hiding these parts of ourselves is more than just avoidance. It is an act of quiet violence against our very nature and it creates a terrible vacuum where our authenticity is supposed to be. In the long run, that vacuum ends up being filled with relationships and situations that just diminish us. This is how Jung said it. He said, “That which we do not bring to consciousness appears in our life as fate,” or you might say those core gifts that we do not learn how to treasure appear in our lives as crappy romantic relationships, as painful romantic relationships.

    Your Life Genius

    In my work as a psychotherapist and a teacher, my most essential task is to help my clients discover that those very parts of themselves they feel most hesitant to reveal, reflect their life genius. A genius that the world probably never taught them to cultivate channel and express in positive ways. The act of discovering the tremendous worth of these orphaned parts of ourselves creates an absolute sea change in our lives. This is something that I have the privilege of seeing happen again and again, and has happened in my own life and continues to happen because God knows it’s not like I have done it. It is a constant ongoing process and that’s why I believe in practices like my exercise, my favorite exercise, which I teach in episode three, which is The Inner Mentor™ Processes. It’s one of my most powerful ways to help me kind of continue to deconstruct the shame and grow wisdom and capacity, in embracing and expressing my core gifts.

    As we learn, as you learn, as I learn to perceive these parts of ourselves that are our shadow parts as gifts and not as liabilities, life starts to really make more sense. It’s like the underlying story of our life begins to come clear. These things are really true. I’ve seen this again and again. We start to lose our taste for people who chip away at our self-esteem. We choose relationships differently and single people really do start to find themselves meeting and being attracted to people who accept them for who they are. People in couples begin to risk revealing feelings of deeper passion, or intensity, or vulnerability, or need, and relationships that have been stagnant begin to come alive as authenticity, which is the key to true intimacy, starts to reemerge. People develop a sense of inner dignity that comes naturally.

    It’s this experience that I describe as kind of being lit from within and a sense of self-worth comes with this as well as finding our tribe which is the people with whom these parts of ourselves are essentially deeply, automatically appreciated, and respected. This journey of learning to honor, and dignify, and cultivate a wiser discipline around your core gifts, around your shadow self is not for the faint of heart, but it is, I believe without a doubt, the true adventure of deeper love. Thank you for listening, including to my raspy voice this week. I look forward to seeing you on the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast. Again, you can go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com to sign up for my mailing list. Thank you all.

  • The Two Questions You Need To Ask About Your Relationship [EP082]
    This episode teaches two essential questions to ask yourself about any relationship. These powerful questions have the ability to deepen and transform almost any relationship— including your relationship with yourself. Just answer the questions silently to yourself as you listen to the episode, and you’ll come to a much deeper, more helpful understanding of that relationship—and of yourself.

    Table of Contents

    Watch the episode here:

     

    The Two Questions You Need To Ask About Your Relationship

    Because We Get Hurt Precisely In The Places We Care The Most

    What are two of the most powerful questions you can ask to heal and strengthen any relationship? Stay tuned to the Deeper Dating Podcast to find out.

    Hi, everybody and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist, author of the book, Deeper Dating and the host of this show. Today, we’re going to talk about the two questions that you need to ask yourself about any important relationship that you have. This week and every week, I’m going to share with you the greatest tools that I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process because all the skills of dating are just the skills of intimacy. Those are the most precious skills of all for happy and rich life. I also want to say that you can get the transcript of this episode by going to DeeperDatingPodcast.com. You can hear all my other episodes there. You can sign up for my mailing list and get free gifts there as well.

    I also want to say that I, and my husband, have created an online dating event based on all the values that I teach that we’re so excited about. You can go to DeeperDating.com to learn more about that and hear about events that will be hopefully in your neck of the woods as well. I also want to say that everything I talk about in this episode is going to be educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice. If you’re experiencing any serious psychological or psychiatric conditions, please do seek professional help. Finally, I would so appreciate it if you could subscribe and leave me a review. I’m going to jump in now.

    Today, I’m going to teach you an exercise that can bring compassion and deep insight to any of your most important relationships, – romantic, friendship, family, and also point you toward greater closeness, healing and joy with your loved one. This exercise is going to ask you to reflect on two of the absolutely most important questions that can lead us to a richer and more conscious life. The questions are completely obvious, but our ability to discount and dishonor our responses to those questions is nothing short of breathtaking. You’ll see what I mean.

    We get hurt and inspired the most in the places we care about the most.CLICK TO TWEET

    What Interactions From Your Relationship Inspire You And Hurt You The Most?

    What I’d like you to start by doing, as we’ve done in so many of our other episodes, just do this while you’re listening. You can be running, you could be walking, you could be driving. You don’t need to write anything down, you could just answer these questions out loud as you go. It will enrich you and open your eyes to deeply important intimacy themes in your life, and point you toward your direction of deeper intimacy growth, which all of us want. Start by choosing a relationship you want to focus on. It could be someone you’re dating, someone you’re in a relationship with, a family member, a friend. You can do thisese tons of times. Choose whoever comes up for you first now. Question number one, what interactions in this relationship inspire you the most, touch your heart, make you feel safe, make you feel challenged, make you feel honored, make you feel like you belong, any of those kinds of questions.

    I’d like you to pause the recording if you like and just list them. Just list the ones that inspire you the most. I’d like you to pause now and list them. What I want to say is we’ve got macro inspirations, like deep character qualities that move you greatly, ways that they are with you. We have micro inspirations. It could be the way that this person tends to their plants or decorates their house or cooks or takes care of their pets, anything. Macro, micro, think what interactions, what things that you notice in this relationship inspire you the most? The next question is what interactions in this relationship hurt you the most? I want to speak a little bit about both of these before we go any further.

    There’s something that is existentially important in your answers to these questions. This is why we get the most hurt and the most inspired precisely in the places we care the most. The places we care the most are the dominant themes of our lives and our personality. They are what I call our core gifts. It’s those parts of our psyche that influence our behavior most powerfully. Because they’re so central to our emotional, spiritual DNA, the way we relate to them determines our self-esteem more than almost anything else. It also determines who we’re sexually and romantically attracted to. I speak about that. I’m not going to speak about that in this episode, but it’s something I speak about a lot in my work.

    If you, or any of us, want to create a useful user’s manual for the relationship you’re focusing on and for you, it’s so important to become increasingly familiar with the answers to those two questions for yourself but also for your loved ones. These tender parts of ourselves and we’re going to get to my asking you the question about the things that hurt the most in a moment. These tender parts of you are highly active in your closest relationships. I call them core gifts. They’re like fingerprints. At first glance, it seems like they’re like everybody else as everyone wants respect, independence, love, safety. We all want those things.

    DDP
    Questions About Relationship: Your unique genius and deepest ability to give and receive love lie in the things we get the most hurt and the most inspiration.

     

    On closer reflection, we want different facets of those in different ways. What’s important to one person is not as important to the other and vice versa. The things that are highly charged for us, another person might not realize how much these things mean to us. We might not even honor how much they mean to us. That is one of the deepest components of self-love is to recognize the things that are deeply charged for us and matter so much. Learn to hold them with what I call cupped hands with honor, with treasuring.

    Your Unique Genius, Your Truest Self

    These are the parts of ourselves that feel the most vulnerable. Those are the parts that it feels most urgent that we feel seen, understood and appreciated. There are also parts of ourselves that we are the most easily likely to hide and cover – up because it’s better not to be disappointed. When we do that, we’re living a life that loves bounces off of us instead of having this deep permeability to love. Within these qualities, these things where you get the most hurt, and you feel the most inspiration, lie your unique genius, and also your deepest ability to give and receive love. What I’d like you to do now is think back on your past experiences in this relationship.

    I want you to think about the moments that you have felt micro hurts or major hurts. These simple moments, as well as the moments of inspiration, can tell you worlds about who you are, who your loved one is and what matters the most to each of you. When we see that in those reflections, there’s a feeling of truth. Not necessarily this sense of grand universal truth, but a sense of personal truth. This touches me where I live. This really does hurt me. This really does cause me to wilt, to shrink, to pull back, to retreat, to be angry, or this really does make my heart feel full and filled, joyful and peaceful.

    What I’d like you to do now is to take a moment and now think about in this relationship the kind of things that hurt the most, macro and micro. Not for the reason of vilifying this other person, but for the reason of understanding what the hurts are so that you can be a better custodian of your heart in this relationship, and hence in every relationship. Take a few moments to do that. You can again pause the recording. Now I just want you to take a moment and think about the themes that emerged again and again, the things that gave you joy when they were met and honored, the things that caused pain when they were not. When you take the time to notice these themes, it’s like a connect the dots kinds of puzzle.

    The more you understand and appreciate the precious parts of your loved one, the more they will feel loved and valued by you.CLICK TO TWEETYou connect the themes and you realize that a few themes come up again and again. What emerges is a picture of your truest self. These are the things that matter most in an intimate relationship. It really affects me when someone can’t share their vulnerability and I’m going out on a limb. It really affects me when someone doesn’t stand for me when it’s hard and scary to do that because I do that for other people. When I see someone being brave and creative in the face of adversity, when I see someone being kind, when it would be just as easy, or even easier to be not so kind, these things kill me. They move me so deeply. If you take a moment and think about the things that hurt you the most and the most regularly, and that fills your heart the most regularly, you will begin to see the themes of you, the true colors of you.

    I want to say something about joy here. It’s something I’ve talked about a lot in different episodes. Often, we pass over our moments of joy instead of relishing them. It’s a journey to be able to comfortably sit with our joys. I know for me that that’s been one of the biggest challenges of my life is being able to bear joy in a quiet, non-quaky way. Often, we feel uncomfortable or unworthy in the face of our moments of expansion or inspiration, then we try to minimize our good feelings like, “Everybody feels the same thing,” or immediately we parry the joy with a self-deprecating way of thinking that minimizes the positive that we just had, because inspiration can frighten us. It makes our defense quake.

    It invites like a superstitious fear that the other shoe is going to drop. For most of us, we can bear joy only for a few fleeting moments, then it quickly turns into a critique or assessment or analysis. I know that’s true for me. The task of thinking of those small joys, not as nice moments, but as portals to something incredibly precious, incredibly big, incredibly important. That’s a different way to think. We minimize our hurts too. We tell ourselves we’re being too sensitive. We say that all the time or that we’re supposed to be the bigger person. We do not want oversensitivity to make everything worse than it is. We don’t want that. It’s good to be a bigger person when we feel like we can.

    If we don’t honor our hurts and listen closely to the truths about their relationship and about us that they’re trying to tell us, we are going to keep repeating the same patterns in this relationship again and again. As you learn to listen to the things that feel wrong, you learn to hold and treasure and appreciate and express your appreciation for the things that feel right, your relationship turns richer. If it’s a romantic sexual relationship that opens the door for more sexuality, more sensuality, more embracing a deeper sense of radical intimacy. The same is true of non-sexual, non-romantic relationships, a more radical intimacy where we feel cared for and so willing to go out on a limb for the other person. You’ve done this exercise now. I want to encourage you to allow yourself time to process it and reflect because in going through that, you have now touched on some of the most precious, important and influencing parts of your being. That’s a big thing. You can imagine what would it be like to walk through the world honoring those parts of yourself, the inspirations and the hurts, honoring them more fully and richly.

    DDP 82 | Questions About Relationship
    Questions About Relationship: There’s almost nothing better in a relationship than learning each other’s language and change. The more this happens, the more joy and connection is possible in that relationship.

     

    What Is In You That Inspires Others?

    We’re moving on to part two of this exercise. This is hard but fabulous. You’re going to redo the same process for your loved one. You’re going to try to place yourself in his or her or their shoes and imagine how he or she, or they would answer the same questions about your relationship. The first one is, what do you think in you inspires this person? Maybe they’ve told you, maybe you have to guess, but take a minute, you can pause this again, and list the things that you think inspire them about you, that they need about you, that they rely on from you, that they look up to, that make them feel safe in the world, that make them feel inspired in the world, that make them feel taken care of. Do that now.

    This is a good one. It’s hard, but it’s a good one. If this loved one would have to articulate the ways that they felt most hurt in the relationship. I just want to say again this is an invitation to you to take on your most beautiful and important intimacy lessons. I know it’s hard. I know it’s humbling. That’s part of the beauty of this journey because anything you take in and go, “I can see that I have hurt this person I love. I can see that I have missed their cues. I can see that I haven’t seen their deepest self,” all of those things, those are good. Those are gold. When you see that, even though you feel pain, I believe that you will be filled with a sense of goodness and quiet.

    Because you’ll know that you’re doing the beautiful work of intimacy that you need so much. Take a moment. You can pause the recording and think about this. What would be the micro and even macro hurts that this person would say? Be brave, dive in, take a few moments, minutes, to pause this and then answer those questions. Think again about what this person in your imagination said and what were the themes that emerged again and again. The more you understand and appreciate these precious parts of your loved one, the more this loved one will feel loved and valued by you. The more there’ll be of this hardcore sense of that true growth, that feels so good when you and the other person begin to learn each other’s language and change. As you know, you need to change. There’s almost nothing better than that. The more this happens, the more joy and connection is going to be possible in that relationship.

    Thank you so much for doing this brave exercise. I imagine you have a lot to think about, a lot to hold and just these simple questions are such an act of grace, “Where is my loved one being hurt? Where are they being inspired? Where am I feeling hurt? Where am I feeling inspired?” They’re such glorious questions. Another gift in them is that you will tap into a native joy inside yourself. The more you do this and live this. I want to say another thing, which is that if some of this stuff is truly deeply wounding for you, that your partner has done or that you have done, that will take more work. That will take more talk. That will take a conversation after conversation. It could take years of work.

    As they say, relationships are a process of rupture and repair. When we’re willing to do the repair work, that is such a wonderful thing. The more you do this exercise, the deeper your own selflove is going to become. Please try this exercise. You’ve probably just tried it. You can do it again and again, but I’d love it too if you went to DeeperDatingPodcast.com and click Ask Ken and share any experience, any insights, any reflections that you had with this process, with our community. Thank you so much for reading. I look forward to seeing you next week on the Deeper Dating Podcast.

  • 5 Questions That Will Illuminate Your Path To Love [EP081]
    These 5 questions truly will illuminate your path to love. Just answer them as you go (no need to write anything down), and by the end of the episode, you will understand some of the most profound truths of your life journey and your search for love. In the words of Chip Conley, “A question, thoughtfully conceived, can illuminate a room, a company, a life.” Let’s do this together!

    Table of Contents

    Watch the episode here:

    5 Questions That Will Illuminate Your Path To Love

    Answer Them As You Listen, And Watch The Shifts Happen Inside

    Chip Conley, a brilliant business person and the Founder of the Modern Elder Academy says, “A question thoughtfully conceived can illuminate a room, a company, a life.” Today, I’m going to ask you a few questions that will illuminate your intimacy journey and your search for love. Stay tuned to the Deeper Dating Podcast.

    Welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page. I’m a psychotherapist, the author of the book, Deeper Dating, and of course, the host of this show. I’m happy to have you here today. I’m going to be talking about five questions that will illuminate your search for love in some quite amazing ways. This week and every week, I share with you the greatest tools and insights I know to help you find love, keep it flourishing, and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love.

    If you want to learn more about the deeper dating path to real intimacy, just go to

    DeeperDatingPodcast.com. If you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get free gifts and learn more about how to use these ideas to transform your own intimacy journey and you’ll find transcripts of every episode there as well. I also want to say that I am now launching something that you can go to DeeperDating.com to find out about it and what it is, is a whole new way for single people to meet online, in a way that is warm, inspiring, emotionally safe and fun. We’re just beginning, but if you want to go to DeeperDating.com to learn more, we would love to have you be part of this wonderful experiment in a wiser, more inspiring online dating. I also just want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical, psychiatric advice or treatment. Finally, I just want to say, if you like what you’re learning here, it would be wonderful if you could subscribe and leave me a review. Thank you so much for that.

    In this episode, I’m going to ask you five questions. These are questions that are built to help you understand the richest, deepest, most essential themes in your entire intimacy journey and your search for love. With that also, the richest deepest themes in terms of your own journey to selflove and self-understanding. Those are big claims, but you will see as we continue why these claims are very real and very true. What I want to encourage you to do is answer the questions as we go. Whether you’re driving, running, or just sitting down, I would encourage you not to wait because they’re deep questions and you just want to enter into this. We will take you into it deeply, bring you out the other side, and you’ll have pretty glorious insights along the way. Maybe you’re that kind of really organized person that you could say, “I’m going to come back to this and do it later.” I know I’m not that person. My suggestion is not to make a fuss about it, but just jump right in, answer the questions as you go. I’m going to answer some for myself too as an example, and then later, if you want to do it in deeper ways, feel free to do that. One other thing that I just want to say is that part of the questions I’m going to ask are pretty profound. They’re going to be about parts of you that you thought you had to hide, which you are now learning to instead embrace on your intimacy journey.

    Answer these 5 questions to understand your entire search for love in a new way.CLICK TO TWEETFor some of us though, that entails trauma, and I want to encourage all of you, if you feel these questions could activate trauma responses that are hard to deal with and hard to bear, do this with a therapist or someone who you trust to be able to help you get through this and get to the other side. This is for people who’ve experienced trauma and might have PTSD symptoms around questions like that because we have to honor our places of trauma and we have to protect ourselves and be kind to ourselves. If you’re not sure, you can go along with the process. If you hit a question that just feels like too much, don’t answer it until you can get the support that you need. Let’s jump into these really fabulous questions.

    What Is A Part Of You That You Thought You Had To Hide To Make It Through Your Childhood?

    We’re, this is going to be very much starting with is when you were younger. We’re going to be doing sets of these illumination questions a lot in the future on this podcast, but now we’re going to start with some childhood stuff and then move it into the present. Here’s a question, “What is a part of you that you thought or felt or believed you had to hide in order to make it through your childhood?” I’ll just give you some examples. For me, there was a quality of intense sensitivity and vulnerability that was like way too gay and mortifying for me, and also not fitting in with what a boy was supposed to be, not fitting in with what a boy was supposed to be in my family of Holocaust survivors and our family ethos about what it meant to be tough in order to survive. This deep sensitivity in me that was explosively loving and extremely tender and very magical was something I had to really protect and hide. I grew a kind of shame around it for myself. That’s me.

    For you, it might have been a quality of power or fierceness or independence. Maybe a quality of sensitivity. Maybe a creativity that was like wild and careening that got you in trouble, but whatever it was, this kind of like a very essential part of you as a kid that you knew the world was not going to see or get or honor. Take a minute to think about that. You can say your answer out loud if you’re all alone, just do that. Take a minute. You can pause the recording right now and just say your answer or you might want to write it, or you might just want to think it. Again, I encourage you just go for it because you’re going to learn some great things unless it feels too emotionally loaded to be doing right now and then I encourage you to respect that. Do that right now.

    Who Gave You A Sense Of Hope That There Could Be A Place For This Part Of You To Be Honored, Safe, And Appreciated?

    Here’s the second question, “Who in your childhood gave you a sense of hope that maybe there could be a place for this part of you in the world? Maybe this part of you could be honored, could be safe, could be appreciated, could be mentored, could be empowered?”. Who in your childhood gave you that glimpse, even if they weren’t intensely in your life? Edward Hallowell, who’s just a hero of mine and a brilliant thinker about ADHD, about intimacy. I’ve interviewed him before and I hope to again. He spoke about having a really difficult childhood, but there was one teacher who saw his gifts, and he said, “You know, even just one teacher can be enough to bring somebody into a really rich and good life, even if they didn’t get that from their family of origin.”

    Maybe it was an imaginary person. Maybe it was someone from history. Maybe it was a saint. Maybe it was someone you invented. Maybe it was a pet. Maybe there was no one though from your childhood that you had that with, but you had it later in your life, but someone with whom this part of you, they got it. You felt like, “This part of me has value. It can be seen. It can live in the world.” Take a minute now and think about who that person is. I’m going to ask you again to pause the recording. You’re going to think who this person is, and then you’re going to do something. It’s something I do a lot. It’s an important part of this illuminating your path process. You’re going to thank this person. You’re going to put words on what it is that they gave you.

    DDP 81 | Path To Love
    Path To Love: There are parts of you that you think you have to hide, but you have to learn to embrace them on your intimacy journey.

     

    For me, it was a woman named Naomi Sheldon. I was twelve years old. I went to my violin class and she was sitting there. She was older. She was like in her twenties and she had a singing class. She was a poet and she met me and she got that I was a sensitive kid with a big heart. She remembered all the pain that she had been through being that kind of person, but something that she said that intrigued her about me was that I seemed like a pretty happy kid, which may be on some level I was. She wrote a poem about me. We became friends and she became a mentor. She brought me to the theater. She taught me that I could live as an artist.

    No one had taught that to me before in that way. Even though I came from an art family, but that I could live like an artist. In other words, feeling things that were so deep and so wide and so explosive and so tender that there was space for that and that it was actually a gift. That was me, but I would like you to think who this person is. I’d like you to pause the recording. I would actually like you, out loud or silently, to put words on your gratitude to this person.

    Tell them what they did for you, how it changed you, and also talk about the part of you that they rescued or allowed and the role that they played. Just take a minute or two to do that or three and then you can start the recording again. Just give yourself that gift because when we know these people who saw what I call our core gifts and let us know that there might be a place for them in the world, that’s really big. That’s really seminal for our life journey. I’m going to talk about why with the next question. Go ahead and do that now.

    How does that feel? I bet it feels good. It’s a really important thing to do. These intimacy heroes, these core gift heroes in our life. Here’s another thing. I am a student of intimacy walls because I have had so many intimacy walls and still experience my intimacy walls. They really mattered to me because of the loss of love that they cause, which really I feel. I’ve had to do tons of thinking for my own life and then as a therapist and in my intensives, intimacy walls are what I work with. Those are the places where we feel like they’re impenetrable, they’re impermeable. The thing that I want to say and this is a rich formula, whatever it is, that quality was, that you picked out to the degree that you feel like it won’t be cherished, you will put up walls.

    These walls will be what they call primitive defenses, meaning that they’re frozen, they’re automatic. It’s like a deep down part of ourselves that does it to protect us. The more we treasure these parts of ourselves, the more we’re brave enough to live them in the world more freely, of course, appropriately, and in ways that are safe because it can be a scary world. The more that we inside ourselves have rid ourselves of shame and celebrate these wild, sensitive, passionate parts of ourselves, the more we do that, the less we will need primitive walls against love. The more shame we have over these parts of ourselves, the more we will erect walls against love that we won’t have control over.

    The more we rid ourselves of shame and celebrate our wild, sensitive, passionate parts, the less we need walls against love.CLICK TO TWEET

    “How Do You Put Up Walls To Protect This Part Of Yourself?”

    That’s a question that I want to ask now and this is first iteration. Maybe you’ve thought about this a lot before but if not, don’t worry about it. This is first iteration. You’ll be thinking about this a lot more, I imagine, afterwards. You can see that these questions illumine your whole life story in a way. How would you put up walls to protect this part of you? When you were younger, when you were older, when you date, how would you in the past, how do you even maybe now put up walls to protect this part of yourself? Because it’s smart to protect this part of yourself.

    The more you learn how to dignify it and champion it and honor it, and be amazing enough to stand behind it, even when the world doesn’t get it, the less you will need walls, until then we need walls. As we grow, the conscious journey is to deconstruct the primitive walls and create and rewire new ways of behaving that honor and treasure these beautiful parts of ourselves, and then only choose people and situations where these parts of ourselves can grow and flourish and shine. Take a minute to think about this one. How do you put up walls to protect this part of you? You can pause the recording and just kind of speak it out again.

    Who In Your Life Today Sees These Parts Of You That Allows You To Feel Safe, Treasured, And Cherished?

    I know this is a deep one, folks. Next question. This is a wonderful question. Who in your life today sees these parts of you, allows you to feel safe revealing these parts of you, treasures and cherishes these parts of you, respects these parts of you? I want you to just think of those people and I want you to thank them. We’re going to do the same thing again. You can just pause the recording and speak it out loud or write it or think it. I want you to just think of some of those people. If there is no one like that, I have two suggestions for you. The first suggestion is when we’re not used to people like that, we sometimes don’t recognize or notice them. They’re like invisible because they’re so different from what we picture life is really like so we don’t recognize it.

    I’d like you to think in your Facebook friends, in whatever kind of contact list you have, I know for me, this was a really big and important question. I had to look back through my current and past life to find out who were the people with whom these parts of me felt safe because I had to develop a taste for those people because for me, I thought they weren’t spicy enough. I thought that they weren’t exciting enough. There was an excitement wiring that happened to me around people that didn’t really accept me. It’s a deep internalization of the people who stepped on these parts of me and the parts of me that believed that they were right to do that.

    I had to relearn like, “Who are these people?” Maybe they didn’t seem so spicy at first, but maybe I would find that their edge came from their intelligence, or their fierceness in living, or their deep integrity. There were other kinds of edges or their radical gentleness, even when it’s hard to be gentle. There were other things that could be really exciting and spicy for me and I could learn to develop a taste for those people. I’m just sharing my story because when I finally did that, that my world became filled with love.

    DDP 81 | Path To Love
    Path To Love: The more shame we have over some parts of ourselves, the more we will erect walls against love that we won’t have control over.

     

    Take a minute now and think who were the people, just think of 1 or 2 people who really stand out for you, just at this moment and thank them, articulate what they give you with this and thank them and just do that. I mean, you’ll love this because it feels so good to do this. If you’re someone who still says, even after reflecting back on other people, you might not have noticed that there’s no one, then your work is in front of you because I promise you that those people are there and that they are your path to happiness. Your work is to find them and you might need help and support to do that. Take a minute now, press pause and go ahead and enjoy that.

    How Could You Allow This Part Of You More Of Its Genius In The World?

    Now, we are on our fifth and last question, and the question is this. “How could you allow this part of you more of its genius in the world? How can you allow this part of you more dignity in the way that you live? More leadership because this part, I believe, is connected to your mission and to your greatness and to your capacity for magic in this world. The messages that come from this part of you are messages that the world is hungry to hear, or at least parts of the world are hungry to hear.

    Their messages and ways of being that when you find your one, that person is going to feel like they found home because of these very parts of you. Take a minute and just think, “How could I let the genius of this part come out more? How can I treasure this kid inside me more? How can I give this wild, kind of very unique, very different, very challenging, but very amazing child inside of me freedom to really create and to be and to live in a bigger, richer way?” Take a minute and pause and just put words on that.

    Those were your questions and I imagine that they’re going to be questions that are going to ripple and bang around and rock around and just touch you and affect you and affect your thinking and help you understand your path or one aspect of your path and your journey just a

    little bit more richly. It was a joy to get to do this with you. I want to encourage you to go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com and click on Ask Ken, and you can leave a message about what this exercise brought up for you or what you learned from it. I always love hearing that. Some of those, I might read out actually in the podcast. Thank you so much and I look forward to seeing you on the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.

  • 3 Powerful Hacks To Help You Find Love Online [EP080]
    These powerful hacks are designed to help you find love online more quickly and with less pain! Each will help you learn important lessons of dating and love, and all of them will support you in becoming someone who loves more deeply and more wisely. Join Ken Page in this episode and you’ll finish it with a much richer understanding of your own next steps in your intimacy journey.

    Table of Contents

    Watch the episode here:

    3 Powerful Hacks To Help You Find Love Online

    Online dating is a powerful way to meet many new people, but it sculpts behavior that actually leads usp away from real intimacy. Stay tuned to this episode to learn how that happened and how you can extract the good from your online dating experience and avoid the harmful.

    Hello, everybody and welcome to the Deeper Dating Show. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist, the author of the book, Deeper Dating, and the host of this show. I’m glad to have you here. Today, we’re going to talk about really transformative hacks that you can use to change your experience in online dating. This week and every week, I’m going to share the greatest tools that I know to help you find love, keep it flourishing, and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are the skills of intimacy and those are certainly the greatest skills of all for a happy and rich life. If you want to learn more about this approach, you can go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com.

    Online dating sculpts behaviors in us that actually push love away. Here’s how to change that.CLICK TO TWEETThere you can get transcripts of every episode. You can learn lots more about my work and hear about other ways to work with me and other people’s work that I really respect. I want to say that everything I talk about here is educational in nature. It is not medical or psychiatric advice, and if you’re experiencing any serious psychiatric or psychological symptoms or conditions, please seek professional help. Also, I want to say that it is greatly appreciated. There are such beautiful, amazing reviews on iTunes and elsewhere, and I thank you so much. If anybody would be interested in leaving a review, that’s always a tremendous gift.

    Online Dating

    We’re going to jump right in. In 1995, that was the advent of online dating. With that advent, the world changed. The number of matches that people can experience is different now than it was in the old days. The numbers are huge. They’re vast. I think there are something like over 18,000 swipes a second on Tinder and billions of matches made over time on all of the different sites, literally billions. The number of matches is astounding that we can now have access to. Interestingly, in 1995, about 42% of Americans were single. Now, 45% are single according to Pew and according to the census. Obviously, there are a lot of different conditions that relate to that.

    There’s a lot more cohabitation that goes up consistently. There are social factors that change things as well. However, the number is so significant of how many matches are made and it’s so significant how fewer marriages there are now. That’s got to say something and we need to look at why. I think a big part of why is because online dating excels in generating matches and it fails miserably in creating an environment of real intimacy. What is intimacy? As I understand, an environment of intimacy that will help people meet is a quality of warmth in the interaction, quality of emotional safety in the interactions, and in the platform, a sense of fun because fun is a big deal and a sense of inspiration.

    DDP 80 | Finding Love Online
    Finding Love Online: Online dating excels in generating matches but fails miserably in creating an environment of real intimacy.

     

    The Swipe Generation

    Somehow, there’s some kind of structure where you can get to see the best parts of people and show them the best parts of you. I’ve been working very hard with my husband to create an alternative site that allows that, and we’ve just launched. It’s called DeeperDating.com. Do feel free to visit that site because that’s going to be growing. I want to talk about this dilemma in online dating. I want to talk about it from two different perspectives. I want to talk about it from the perspective of the swipe generation.

    I was quoted in the Times a while back about what I call swipe circuitry. I’m going to talk about that in a minute. I’m going to talk about those of us who awere using swipe apps, some of the pitfalls, and how to get around those pitfalls because they’re significant and they’re illustrative. They teach us something important about intimacy. I want to talk to all of the folks that are not using swipe apps and websites, particularly people who are a little bit older because we have a very different experience. I’m almost 64 and I’m married, but I relate.

    We have a very different online experience than people in their 20s and 30s. I was just listening to some research about this. It turns out that 70% of college students who use Tinder have literally never met anybody and they haven’t wanted to because some huge percentage does Tinder, does theise swiping apps for two kinds of blended reasons, boredom, and distraction. That’s one reason and the other reason is a kind of dopamine drip like the kind of self-confidence boosting feelings of having somebody express interest in you. That’s the level of removal that we are living at. I’m going to talk about that in a little bit.

    I think that also as we get older, we don’t experience so much this wild, insane proliferation of matches. As we experienced not enough good matches and a kind of dry terrains or just like a lot of jerks out there or people just looking for hookups, which everybody experiences in online dating. I want to talk about all of these situations, these two major categories, and I want to offer some tools and some insights that kind of universalize into the entire intimacy journey. First, I’m going to talk a little bit about what it’s like for those of us who are getting older and are not doing that swipe thing.

    The truth is as you get older when you reach a certain age, you do not get as many matches. That’s not true for everyone, but it’s true for a lot of people. I want to acknowledge that as a reality. I want to say two things. One thing is that as we get older and we’re using online dating, which is a great thing to use, it’s really important to look for and try a number of different sites. Particularly as we get older, we get kind of clearer on what we want and what we don’t want and we want sites that help us filter. This is for everybody, by the way. We want sites that help us filter things like values, passions, interests, involvement in the world, things that show a deeper character. Some websites allow you to do that kind of searching for deeper values and passions and interests. That’s a great thing. You want to look for that. Even the giant behemoth sites like Match allows you to do a lot of different filtering and you really do want to do that.

    Online dating tries to sculpt a world of numbers, immediacy, and superficiality. It works as a business model. It works because it keeps people interested and we need to use the tremendous gift of online dating, which is the number of possible matches and connections, but we want to do it in a wiser way. We want to occupy and take back the online dating experience to extract the value from it. This is the meta point that I want to make and it’s around all of this. Everything is kind of a microcosm of a bigger picture of how we do things.

    How we eat tells us a lot about who we are. How we relate to people tells us a lot about who we are. How we date online tells us a lot about who we are. We’re interfacing with an environment that in some ways brings out our most immature and superficial qualities because it focuses so much on numbers. That’s very illuminating because we can see, “What am I doing in online dating that is not from my place of deepest intimacy, that is not from the place of my core gifts or my gifts zone?” Whatever that is, is going to work infinitely less well.

    As we get older, we get clearer on what we want and what we don’t want.CLICK TO TWEETWe can all, just like we can do in any arena of our life, and this is an incredibly worthy thing to do is to say, and this for everybody, “How am I using online dating in a way that is acting out some patterns and some habits that I know are not my highest good, are not my highest self?” Maybe they’re based in judgmental ness or impatience or irritation or a quick sexualization of experiences. Whatever it is, all of us can look at it because we all have clay feet when it comes to love. All of us do. Those of us that can admit it areis gold because that’s just an act of growth and commitment to goodness, and that commitment to see the ways in which our habits keep us away from love or don’t allow love to flourish. That’s intimacy greatness when we do that, and that’s the main ingredient that’s going to keep our relationship alive as things get difficult and rocky.

    Harville Hendrix, a teacher whose work I deeply respect. He says, “There comes a time in every relationship where the thing you most need from your partner is the thing that they are least able to give you.” Often, we think that’s the end of love, but it’s not. It’s the beginning of love. That’s the beginning of the deep character shift work that both of you do together that creates a future that’s based on solidity, commitment, integrity, and the wonder of mutual growth. Every way in which you have clay feet, every way in which you’re doing online dating in a way that is not the most intimate, those are things to notice because if you address them here guaranteed in your next relationship, in their own iteration, they will show up in different ways and you will have gained skills to address that.

    Online Dating Behaviors

    What are some things that people do in online dating? What are some examples of this? Having worked with so many clients and havings been aon online datering for so many years, I think that one thing that happens is we get jaded. I think that’s a huge thing. The research here by the way is interesting. It says that, “Because of the huge quantity of connections possible in online dating, our behavior is sculpted so that we are less likely to really appreciate and value the people we meet because there are so many more people ahead of us.” This is a very silly example, but I think it relates. A while back, we‘re able to get a whole bunch of Clorox wipes for the house. We were hoarding every Clorox wipe at the beginning of this pandemic like, “We’re going to be so careful with it. We’re going to use it again.”

    All of a sudden, we got in this shipment of Clorox wipes, which at that point was kind of a little miracle. All of a sudden, the packs started disappearing. My husband said to me, “This is thean abundance problem.” I said, “Yeah, it’s true. We are treating these Clorox wipe packages as so much less precious because we have so many of them now.” That’s human behavior, but when human behavior melds with an environment that is built to keep putting new people in front of us to the degree that people actually, and I think most of us or all of us know this experience, of looking around but only being half there. If somebody doesn’t call us immediately because they’re really hot, sexy, spicy or attractive, we move on.

    Picture that you’re at a party with a small number of people and you’re sitting on the sofa. There are 4 or 5 people around you. Remember those days when we were doing that. Let’s say one of the people is someone who you might be able to be interested in. You’re watching them. You’re noticing them. They wouldn’t have instantly appealed to you, but there are qualities in this person that you find sexy, funny, or wonderful. You noticed this person because it’s just a few people. You never would have noticed this in a big crowd. The same thing happens in online dating, but at any given point, there are vast numbers of people. When people don’t super spark our interest, we move on. When we’re bored and we’re just trying to get a little tiny dopamine drip going, we move on, we move on, we move on. When we don’t move on and we reach out to someone and they respond back, a lot of different things could happen.

    One is now it’s becoming work. Now, it’s gone from, “La la la,” just like looking through who’s going to be amazing. All of a sudden, it’s work because it’s work to meet a new person. Unless they’re completely your exact type and research shows that often those people turn you on that much because they embody in part the worst characteristics of your primary caregivers, and you’re wanting to go back to the scene of the original crime to finally get loved right. Barring those people, those super exciting total, like, hotties, we often bypass people.

    Slowing Down

    We don’t take the time because there are all of a sudden so many choices that we could make and this is a powerful online dating hack. It’s to slow down. It’s something I’ve talked about before, but I’m going to be talking about it in a little bit of a different way now. Slowing down because every one of those people who isare anywhere in the range of, “Maybe if I liked this person’s voice, I could be attracted,” or “If this person had a nice body, I could be attracted,” or “If this person was smart, I could be attracted,” or who knows what?

    In other words, people who, like, you don’t instantly know, “I’m totally hot for this person,” but somewhere potentially in the ballpark. You feel like, “If I really liked them, I could picture they’re in the terrain where there could be a spark.” All of those people, we don’t have time for, we bypass them because it takes work to reach out. It takes workito takes vulnerability. It takes work to set up a phone call. It takes work to set up a date and God knows these days, it takes more work to do that. What I encourage is that we slow down and we look for character qualities because, I’m telling you, and I’ve said this before,. Wwhen we make the choice that we are only going to be with someone who inspires us with their goodness, their integrity, and their solidity, our world changes, and future changes.

    There are some smart people who know that, to begin with. Usually, they’re the ones who are in good relationships, but there are the rest of us that don’t know that. We think we know it, but we learned that we need more discrimination. That’s why I teach the main question being, “Does my soul feel safe with this person?” I get emails from people all the time thanking me for this one particular insight and this was actually the insight that Oprah excerpted from my book. It’s that we’re looking for circuitries of attraction of inspiration, where we’re attracted to someone, but we’re also attracted because of their character, their goodness, their decency, their presence, their availability, their willingness to be present.

    DDP 80 | Finding Love Online
    Finding Love Online: Because of the huge quantity of connections possible in online dating, our behavior is sculpted so that we are less likely to appreciate and value the people we meet.

     

    When you find somebody like that and they’re good, decent and they’re interested in you, that’s happiness in love. Sometimes it doesn’t feel quite as spicy in the beginning. Sometimes it feels wonderful, but then as you see the person’s not going anywhere and they’re really interested and they’re just playing decent, you start thinking that they’re boring. This is a deep one for me and I was single for decades because of that. What I came to realize is that that initial feeling of what I

    call boringness, which is the lack of an edge, a scary edge, if it’s replaced by fierce, and brave, integrity, creativity, intelligence, intrepid ways of thinking and communicating and living. In other words, if there is some edge there, but it’s like a fabulous, healthy, adventurous edge instead of a cocky, nasty superior edge, which I used to be drawn to all the time. As we learn to change our tastes, our future changes. It’s important that we use our online dating experience to do that as well.

    That means a few things. It means slowing down. It means filtering for these qualities that interest you. It means that when you’re biding time or wasting time, you realize that everyone you’re bypassing could have been one of those 4 or 5 people on the sofa that you could have ended up having a relationship with. These are all precious beings and when you can slow down enough to say, “I’m going to have to go slower here. I’m going to start by filtering to make my odds better. I’m going to slow down and I’m going to see the human being here. I’m going to budget the time because we have to budget the time to meet these people. I’m going to try not to drop the ball and get to know them.” You will know pretty quickly if the person has qualities of integrity. You will know if they have qualities of jerkiness. You’ll know that really quickly. If they pass that gate, you’ll get to the next gate. You’ll communicate with them. You’ll see what kind of beings they are. If they inspire you if they touch you if you like what they say, and then you’ve gotten to the next gate.

    I want to say that younger people who are doing swipe circuitry and older folks who are doing more like websites, all of us have to do the same thing. We have to see, “What are the kinds of predispositions I’m going in with that block intimacy?” Why don’t you take a minute, everybody, and just think? You should be able to figure this out, “What am I doing that is not of the highest place of intimacy? Because I get so seduced by the numbers and immediacy of online dating or I’m jaded, annoyed, and disappointed that I go in with a wall up. I go in and don’t put the time in or the care and I let people go.” These are all huge learnings. You might want to just take a minute and think about what’s true for you.

    This is how we gain wisdom. I’m telling you that that wisdom changes our future in love. If you can figure out some ways that you could bring a little more wisdom and a little less habituated, unhelpful behavior to your online dating, you will see a difference. I want to hear about what that difference is, so you could go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com, you can click Ask Ken and you can leave a message. I get wonderful messages and questions from people who are using these simple, basic intimacy, wisdom techniques, and seeing shifts happen and having questions about what comes next. I want to encourage people to do that. I want to hear from you. What did you learn about what you could do differently in your online dating experience?

    How we relate to people and how we date online tell us a lot about who we are.CLICK TO TWEETThat’s going to help so many people and I’m going to share the things I hear. Everybody who could do that, I would so appreciate it. Call in, you can use this “Ask Ken” icon in DeeperDatingPodcast.com. You could speak whatever it is that you want to say about where you get stuck. What are some habituated patterns that haven’t been helping you? What are you trying differently and how is it working? Because that’s going to be crowdsourced intimacy gold. Thank you all for reading. As always, it’s a joy to get to connect with you. I look forward to seeing you in the next episode. I encourage you to go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com,  join my mailing list, leave a review if you like. Have a wonderful week.

  • The Single Greatest Resource In Your Search For Love [EP079]
    There’s a resource in our search for love that trumps absolutely everything else: it’s our intuition! But sometimes, what feels like intuition is just bad judgment laced with really clever rationalizations! How can we learn to trust our intuition more fully and wisely? And how do we know when we’re better off not trusting our gut? Learn more in this important episode.

    Table of Contents

    Watch the episode here:

    How To Discover Your Greatest Resource In Your Search For Love

    And How To Know When To Distrust It!

    What’s the single greatest resource for us in our search for love? What’s the one big risk in trusting that resource? Stay tuned to the Deeper Dating Podcast to learn more.

    Hello and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page. I’m a psychotherapist, the author of the book, Deeper Dating, the host, of course, of this podcast and the Cofounder of Deeper Dating Online. I am so glad to be here with you. Today, we’re going to be talking about the single greatest resource in your search for love, and the one risk in trusting that resource.

    Lots more on that in a minute. Every week, I’m going to be sharing with you the greatest skills and insights I know to help you find love, keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love. If you want to learn more about this approach, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com to get a transcript of this, and every other episode, and to join my mailing list and get a free gift. I also want to say that this is not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment. I also want to say that if you like what you’re hearing here, it would be a wonderful thank you to subscribe and to leave me a review. Thank you for that and let’s jump in.

    Our Intuition

    I really do think that the single greatest resource that we have in our search for love is our gut-level sense of what feels right and what feels wrong. It’s a powerful and profound thing, how we don’t listen to that and some of the voices that we have inside us that tell us not to listen to our discrimination.

    Our voices like these, “You’re too sensitive. You want too much. You ask for too much. You’re not strong enough. You’re not feminine enough. You’re not masculine enough.” All of the different voices that we use that are an act of quiet violence against our being and against our discrimination. What we see in our country today is a vast amount of people not trusting the discrimination voice inside of them that says, “Our administration is corrupt, is unsafe, is being led by a narcissist with values that I would never, never want to teach my children.” I see this in so many ways and in so many different dimensions in my role as a coach and as a therapist.

    So many times, people are in relationships that are what I call attractions of deprivation. I hear the same lines, “But he was only joking, he didn’t mean that. But other partners would do worse things. He’s better than my last partner. No, I think I’m just too sensitive. No, I know he shouldn’t have acted that way or she, shouldn’t have acted that way, or they, shouldn’t have acted that way, but I also know that I did this and that to spark that bad behavior.” All of the ways that we oppress ourselves when our guts say, “Something is wrong here with the person I’m dating in terms of their character.” This is something I say all the time.

    I quote Hara Marano, my dear friend and the advice columnist of Psychology Today, when she says, “There are three Cs that we need to remember that are keys to finding healthy love. Those are Character, Character and Character.” We feel it inside when there’s a sneakiness. We feel it when there’s dishonesty. We feel it when there’s a cutting-edge of coldness or cruelty, even if it’s subtle. With some people, they’re very skilled at demeaning us. It almost feels like a paper cut where when it happens, you don’t even feel it but afterwards, you go back and you realize that really stung. Just like with a paper cut, you might not feel it right away but then you realize it’s stinging.  Our discrimination tells us so much more than we give ourselves credit for.

    In dating, how do we know when to trust our feelings and when they lead us astray?CLICK TO TWEETWhat I’ve been talking about in this portion has been our discrimination of what doesn’t feel right. There’s also our discrimination about what does feel right. What does feel like what I call an attraction of inspiration? An attraction of inspiration is one in which you’re not hooked because you’re trying to get the other person to behave better or love you fully. You’re hooked because of the person’s goodness and decency, because of how they inspire you, with how they treat you and who they are in the world and that is quite simply the path to happiness and love. It’s very binary. When we choose integrity, goodness and generosity over sneakiness and dishonesty, selfishness, lack of ability to give and lack of ability to commit. When we make that decision that we are only going to choose those qualities of inspiration, only, only, only.

    First of all, it’s brave as hell because all the voices come up that say, “Then I’ll never be with anybody,” but the truth is that when we tell ourselves that, what we’re really saying is, “I have to go against the intuition and judgment that I have inside, that cringes at certain things, that feels really off about certain things, that knows I don’t want to be treated in this way. There’s a grave, grave kind of repercussion to dishonoring our own gut-level sense of what feels good and what doesn’t feel good. When we make the decision that we are only going to pursue people of wonderful character who treat us really well, who make our hearts and souls feel safe. I promise you, no matter what your age, no matter what your life circumstance, I promise you that those people are out there.

    When you make that commitment and you shut the door to the things that just feel off in terms of character to you, and you only search for the things that feel inspiring in terms of character integrity, availability, when you make that choice, your future changes. Those are the people who you meet, who years later, still are so in love with their partner and it’s mutual. You feel the joy and the amazingness of what they’ve created. Those are attractions of inspiration. Those are the only ones that can last and grow in that beautiful, beautiful way and we’ve all seen both kinds of relationships.

    There’s also a grander, more meta-level of this, which is that when we learn to dignify those things that make our heart feel safe and we learn to discriminate around the things that make our heart feel unsafe. When we learn that skill, we finally understand our core gifts. We finally understand our unique genius. We finally find a user’s manual to this ongoing, absolute, beautiful mystery of who we are. There are certain arenas where we cannot trust our intuition or discrimination as well and I’m going to be talking about those in a few moments, but I want to say more about this way of living that I’m talking about. This way of dating and this way of looking for love and building love and being intimate because in an intimate relationship, there’s a constant process of what’s called rupture and repair.

    DDP
    Trusting Our Intuition: The single greatest resource that we have in our search for love is our gut-level sense of what feels right and what feels wrong.

    We cannot repair the micro and sometimes the macro ruptures that happen in an intimate relationship if we can’t trust ourselves and find words for what doesn’t feel right. Here’s another thing. When we don’t trust ourselves about what doesn’t feel right, it’s a kind of violence against our authentic self.

    Violence begets violence. It’s either going to be violence against our self where we trust ourselves less and less and sabotage ourselves in a variety of related ways and/or we become passive-aggressive like that thing of pushing a beach ball down and it’s just underwater and it just doesn’t stay down forever. Our needs and our truth still get spoken, but they don’t get spoken with kindness and clarity. Without kindness, we meet resistance and wounding. Without clarity, we are profoundly weakened when we can’t speak the truth of what we’re experiencing. It’s that beautiful thing that I say all the time from the 12-Step Program, “Say what you mean, mean what you say, and don’t say it mean.” There’s a lifetime of learning. just in that.

    These are the things that happen when we dishonor our discrimination. Here’s an exercise that I talk about a lot that you can do anywhere and everywhere, but you can certainly do it on a date., Which is you’re with someone and here’s what’s going to happen. Your head is going to be having whatever chatter it has, and that chatter is going to be focusing on something different or focusing on a whole range of different things, some valuable, some less valuable. When you drop down from the chatter into the place of, “What am I feeling in my inside? What am I feeling deep down? What’s the weather like inside my heart, in my interactions with this person?” We noticed that there’s going to be vastly valuable information when we drop down to that level, and that’s that level of deeper discrimination in our connecting with other people.

    What Do We Do When We’re Stuck

    Now, I’m going to talk about something that is another kind of aspect of our intuition that’s a huge, huge deal, and that is, what do we do when we’re stuck in our dating life? What do we do when we’re stuck in our romantic life? What do we do when we’re stuck in a relationship? Of course, we’re going to get stuck in all those ways lots of different times because this is life. It’s supposed to happen and it’s at those crossroads that wisdom is built and created, or defensive patterns are reenacted and strengthened. What we want to do at those charged crossroads is enact new patterns based on wisdom, truth, self- honoring and kindness to our self and to other people. It’s a whole rewiring that’s so preciously important, but it’s not easy to do.

    This is the piece of intuition where when we live in a way that we’re honoring who we are, we are permeable to the breezes of inspiration and insight and intuition that we wouldn’t otherwise be. We’re walking down the street and we’re in this place, which I call the gift zone, where we’re connected to the beating heart of our humanity. We don’t have to be right there, but we’re not too far from it, and that’s the magic zone. That’s the zone where amazing things come from. We’re walking down the street and we’re in that zone, and we have an insight about someone we love. We have an insight about our career. We have an insight about our health. In that kind of space where there is space, where we’re somewhat focused but also just in a kind of looser place. There’s just a lot of wisdom that can come at those moments.

    When we’re frightened, our fear masks itself as intuition.CLICK TO TWEETI actually teach a process in Episode Three, which I call perhaps the greatest practice of all to help you speed your path to love. It’s called the Inner Mentor Process™. It’s a beautiful process to tap into that deeper wisdom, to those kinds of breezes of inspiration. I do it every day and it helps me to get out of struggle focus and into gift focus. Every day, it reminds me of the good things. It reminds me of the through-line of what I’m trying to create. Today, I was thinking that kind of my life is I like to lead it like doing Parkour, which God knows I can’t do, but that experience of kind of having a gap between you and what you want and you have to jump to the nearest ledge of what feels right and good. There’s this leaping that has to happen when you’re creating your own path in the world because there’s not a path marked for you. You have to leap from inspiration to inspiration. I think for me, that’s a wisdom lesson that I learned just today from my inner mentor about how to live my life around certain big professional choices that I’m making now.

    I deeply encourage you to listen to Episode Tthree. In a nutshell, what it is, is picturing the person you are born to be like the unfolded you. The you on the other side of all of your inner glass ceilings. This evolved enlightened version of you. You picture that you and then you do a fantasy where you become that you, and then from that place, you look at the you of today and you call out messages of guidance and wisdom from the heart of that place. I can pretty much promise you that you will bypass almost every drop of self-criticism and the streaming messages that you will get will be just beautiful. I do encourage you to check that out if you’d like to do that. All of this is under the category of being able to listen for inspiration, because life is so hard and love is so hard and love is again made up of so many challenges and conundrums, and encounters where you and the person you’re with are speaking very different languages.

    This is so much the heart of love. If we can kind of jump in that Parkour kind of way from our moments of inspiration, “I get what was going on there,” or “I see what was in their heart that I didn’t see before,” or “Now, I see why I felt the way I felt. I’m honoring that. I’m understanding it.” These are the messages of inspiration. No matter how good your dating coach might be, no matter how good your therapist might be, and I say this as a dating coach and as a therapist, I don’t think there’s anything to match the native beauty of your inner mentor and your own inner intuition.

    When To Distrust Your Intuition

    Now, I want to say something about when it’s a little riskier to trust those voices. When it’s riskier to trust those voices is when there is trauma, when there’s really highly, highly charged material. Absolutely, if there are any untreated or undertreated psychiatric conditions and absolutely, where there are addictions. These are places where, as wonderful as our intuition is, it can’t necessarily be trusted. I’ll share one story with you. In the early days of AIDS, I was so worried that I was infected and I was way too afraid to get tested because it was a death sentence then. It was scary and I was young. Of course, it was deeply terrifying, but I was too afraid to get tested

    DDP
    Trusting Our Intuition: Love is made up of so many challenges, conundrums, and encounters where you and the person you’re with are speaking very different languages.

    I remember one night having a dream, and in this dream, I saw a bottle that was filled with the HIV virus tipping into my body and I knew that the retrovirus had begun its actions inside my body. I knew this so deeply. I felt it down to my bones. Now, I ended up being HIV negative, but when I woke up that morning I felt like, “Man, this was my intuition. This couldn’t have been anything other than my intuition.” When we’re frightened like that, our fear masks itself as intuition. When we’ve been traumatized, if there’s an arena where there’s trauma, and all of us have been traumatized to different degrees, and they say that there’s ‘small t’ trauma and ‘large T’ Trauma. All of us have had a lot of ‘small t’ small trauma and many of us have had ‘large T’ large Trauma in our lives. One of the hallmarks of trauma is that our thinking is impaired when we’re in the throes of that trauma. It’s like when you hit your funny bone and your entire being is activated. You can’t really think straight for a moment. I mean that’s a very benign example of what PTSD is like or what it’s like to feel the reverberations of trauma because that’s such a deep, deep thing. When we’re experiencing trauma, that’s a place where our intuition will be shut down. One of the hallmarks of trauma is black and white thinking. If you find you’re stuck in a place of deep either/or thinking, there’s probably some trauma there.

    In intimacy, so many of us have been sexually abused or violated or had boundaries crossed and so for so many of us, there’s trauma in that way. So many of us have been traumatized by our cultures and attitude towards sex. So many of us have been traumatized around our gender identity, our sexual orientation. These are all the arenas where there’s a lot of trauma and where there’s trauma, our natural capacity to hear real wisdom is dramatically reduced. In the 12-Step Program, they call these areas neighborhoods in your mind where it’s not safe to be alone and that’s what these spaces are. These are spaces where we cannot really trust our own judgment and we know because we’re triggered. When we’re highly triggered, that’s the time not to listen to our gut or our intuition, but to know that in the majority of cases at a time like that, our thinking will be skewed by our trauma. Our thinking will be skewed by an intensity of charge that we have around a particular subject. In psychotherapeutic terms, they call that overdetermined. It’s got extra pressure toward a certain direction.

    There’s another arena as well and I’ll talk in a minute about what to do about this, because we all have many areas like this, and it’s an act of wisdom to know, “Maybe here, I can trust my intuition and there, I need to get some help and support.” Another arena is in the arena of addiction. If we have any significant addictions, we will not be able to trust our thinking or our actions until we address that and become sober and not what they call white- knuckling sober, but sober with support. Because what happens in those cases is that every time, we hit a point of rupture, we instantly go back to whatever the substance or behavior is to help kind of medicate our pain and our suffering. When we do that, we rely on that defense instead of having that deeper learning and growth of repair that has to happen.

    90% of people who try to change an entrenched behavior fail. The people who succeed are the ones who have a community of support.CLICK TO TWEETFor anybody who’s listening to this, who’s been saying, “I think I drank too much. I think I smoked too much weed. I think I have like maybe a porn addiction or a gambling addiction.” I would have to say that the greatest act of love that you could give yourself almost before anything else is to get help. I personally deeply believe in the 12-Step Program. I think they’re incredible and supportive, and I recommend them to my clients all the time, and I’ve used them in my own life. I think they are a beautiful, beautiful wisdom path, but there are many different paths out there. That’s something to be aware of. I say this to people all the time, if you have an active addiction, all of the lessons that I teach here won’t stick. You’ll end up back where you were because your thinking is not and your intuition will not be reliable or trustable. I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer here, but I just think these are important, important empowerment principles to really know. For all the places where we are just highly charged, the secret is to find, and there’s research on this that makes this really clear and really explains why this is, but the secret is to find a path around this stuck area that makes sense to you and feels wise and true, and then follow that path, but not alone, with support, with professional support, with peer support. Follow that path with support so that you can fail again and again and again in the company of caring people, and then pick yourself up and rewire again and again and again.

    Getting Help

    DDP 79 | Trusting Our Intuition

    Deeper Dating: How to Drop the Games of Seduction and Discover the Power of Intimacy

    Ninety percent of people who try to change an entrenched behavior fail. The people who succeed are the ones most often who have a template that they believe in and some kind of community of support where they can kind of screw up and explore, screw up and explore. That could be as simple as a buddy that you check in with. In my book, Deeper Datingand in all of my courses, I always encourage people to have a learning partner because the deeper dating process is a kind of very systematized journey of learning the deeper, wiser approach to finding love, but it’s too hard for most of us to do it alone. I just want to say the vast importance of getting help, even though you just feel like, “Let me try again. This time, I know I can do it with my willpower,” but really, really, really, almost never. Willpower, when it comes to an entrenched pattern, is one of the weakest tools in our toolbox.

    As I always say, also for any of you who are experiencing significant psychiatric conditions that, I don’t mean mild anxiety, mild depression, I mean kind of more serious conditions that don’t feel stabilized. Please get the help that you need to stabilize those conditions because whatever path you choose to take because until you do, you’re going to keep reverting back to old patterns and you won’t be able to help that. These were the caveats, but they’re good caveats because they’re all about getting wisdom and support at those junctures where you know you need help. You will know, I think in many cases where your intuition has something really good to say because it’ll fill you with the sense of strength, wholeness. You’ll really sense that you’re not running away from the truth.

    There might even be like a salty kind of nitty-gritty quality of reality to it, but there’s a sense of hope and there’s a sense of direction. It gives you a fullness inside but you know it’s not hiding from reality fullness. It’s a fullness that really feels like a gift. When you feel that, it’s that richness. It’s a kind of very dimensional, wonderful feeling of richness inside, of intuition, of inspiration, of a connection to yourself. When you feel that, that is a really great thing and the guidance that you get in most cases will be really, really helpful.

    With the things that I described, the addiction, the psychiatric conditions, which are unstabilized or undertreated, the things that you might think are intuition often just feel like fear or defensiveness, or you feel really prickly, or you feel really reactive. Now, it doesn’t mean that you might not be right to feel those things, but what it does mean is that this is a place to get help.

    That’s a great thing of wisdom to know when we can trust and connect to this beautiful streaming sense of intuition and where we know that we’re just kind of screwed up and we really, really need the support of the people we love. I think those are the wisdom paths.

    I want to encourage all of you to take on this concept of tapping into the wisdom place in you. The place where you’re connected to the warmth and the beating heart of your humanity. Perhaps the inner mentor process where you envision the you that you’re meant to be, and you call out guidance from that place. The more that you trust those breezes of inspiration that you feel like, “My God, I’m getting something here. Something just opened up. I see something new. I have a new sense of hope.” The more you trust those and the more you create processes that allow for those pockets of inspiration, the richer your life will be, the more love there will be, and the more successful that you will be in your intimacy journey. Thanks so much for listening. I look forward to seeing you on the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.

  • How To Know If You’re Progressing In Your Search For Love [EP078]
    How do you know if you’re progressing in your search for love? Dating is hard; there’s no question about that. But if you can actually see that you’re progressing, and if you have markers to prove it, that will ease and speed your path to love. In this episode, you’ll learn some of the greatest markers of growth and progress in your search for love.

    Table of Contents

    Watch the episode here:

    How To Know If You’re Progressing In Your Search For Love

    These Key Markers Will Show You Where You’re Progressing In Your Search For Love

    How can you tell if you’re progressing in your intimacy journey? This episode will give you markers and tools to figure out your own answer to this really important question. So stay tuned to the Deeper Dating Podcast,

    Hello and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page, and I’m a psychotherapist, author of the book “deeper Dating” and the host of this podcast. Today I’m going to be talking about how you can know if you are progressing in your intimacy journey. This week and every week I’m going to share with you the greatest tools that I know to help you find love, grow love, and heal your life in the process. The skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love. We know that those are the most important skills of all for a happy and meaningful life. If you want to know more about the deeper dating path to real intimacy, go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com. You can sign up for my mailing list, get free gifts, and also get complete transcripts of every episode. We have created an online event for people to meet based on the deeper values and skills that we talk about in this program. It’s warm, emotionally safe, fun, and positive. Go to the website to learn more about that and to sign up if you like. I want to say that everything I share in this show is educational in nature and it’s not medical or psychiatric advice. If you’re having any serious psychological symptoms, please seek professional help. If you like what you’re learning here, thank you for subscribing and leaving me a review.

    Let’s jump right in. Many of you that are reading have committed to a journey of growth in your search for love. This is such a big thing because we’re taught that somehow, we should have this ‘it’, which means attractiveness, success in dating, and success in finding love. I guess some of us do have that, but the rest of us have to do some real work to rewire, shift, and grow. Take a wisdom path to learn about how we push love away and how we can invite love in. Those learnings are some of the most beautiful and strengthening learnings that we can have in our life. I consider this holy and sacred ground. I consider it some of the most precious and important learning that can exist.

    Growing As A Person

    Many of you have chosen your own path where you are exploring, “What does it mean to grow as a person who knows how to love? What does it mean to grow as a person who’s looking for love and who this time is really looking for healthy, real, sustainable, and beautiful love? What does it mean to be someone who sees our clay feet in love and is humbled by that realization of the ways that we miss signals, push people away, go numb, do unkind things?” Those of us who are humbled by those things and say, “I want to change them,” that’s why we’re here. When we start learning new skills and new insights, I hope that for you, this show is filled with insights that feel like wisdom, possibility, and an invitation to you tackling the climb of your own intimacy journey.

    Having that experience is a wonderful thing. It’s exciting. It gives a feeling of hope and it moves us away from that relentless and ugly current that tells us that we’re not acting masculine enough or feminine enough or we’re not flirting right. The issues are our hair, weight, glutes, and that we don’t act cool enough. We don’t have these pickup skills. All this crap that steers us away from love and towards self-loathing in an indirect and strange circular path. A little bit more about that – When we decide to take that path of fixing ourselves and fixing our packaging, when that becomes, “I’m all for looking good. I’m all for feeling confident in expressing that. I’m all for the joy of fun flirting,” I’m all for all of those things.

    Here’s how to know if you’re progressing in your search for love.CLICK TO TWEETWhat I’m not for is putting the packaging improvement first because that’s a soul killer that weakens us. It does something else too, a strange thing. When we take that path, “How can I fix myself? How can I make myself more attractive? How am I not attractive enough? That must be why I’m not in a relationship.” God knows I spent decades seduced by that. When we do that, we end up being sexually and romantically attracted to people who are not going to be available. This is a mystical thing to me. It’s something I talk about a lot. In my work with clients and in my intensives, I see that as people learn to value and treasure their core gifts, their attractions begin to change. I’ve seen this in my own life too.

    When we start by honoring who we are and learning to honor who the other person is and when we honor our sense of discrimination, those are the things that matter and work. Those are the things wherein our search for love become our discovery of self-love and they join together. In that happening, that’s when we learn the real skills of intimacy which are not, “How can I change myself and airbrush myself so that I’m more attractive? Who am I? Who is the other person? How can I be real? How can I treasure them? How can I treasure me? How can we honor each other? How can I say what’s real for me?” When we do that, when we do those things, our search for love unequivocally, absolutely, fundamentally changes. That’s a hard work miracle, but it happens.

    Looking For Love

    These are the great things that happen when we take on a conscious path to looking for love. It sounds simple from here. It’s like a high aerial view. I’ve talked about this. It’s like looking at a map and 1 inch equals 300 miles so, “I go from here to there. It’s easy.” The map is right. That’s true, it tells you where to go. When you’re there on ground and following that, you realize that a road is closed because of a detour. Another road is closed because of a flood. Another road you don’t want to go down because it’s really, really unpleasant. There’s a much more interesting road somewhere else. The real path and these concepts that I’m saying are absolutely true. On the ground, it’s still hard, murky, confusing.

    DDP 78 | Search For Love
    Search For Love: Often the people you meet as you begin this journey or dive into the earlier stages of this journey are better than the people you were meeting.

     

    That period where we’re looking for love and we’re learning to live these changes, there’s still this period where it’s like, “What’s going on? When is it going to happen? When am I going to see the difference? When am I going to meet someone who’s not almost?” In this journey, I think what many people experience as they learn these lessons that we talk about here is the kind of people they meet change, but it’s a stepping stone thing. Often the people you meet as you begin this journey or you dive into the earlier stages of this journey  are better than the people you were meeting. You’re attracted and interested. You say, “This feels different. I get it.” You sometimes end up saying, “It’s not close enough.” They still have many of those old traits and they’re not working on them. They’re not addressing them. That’s because it’s a stepping stone process.

    This middle process is hard. When you enter into a tunnel and you’ve got the light from behind you, when you’re coming out of a tunnel, you see the light at the end of the tunnel. In the middle of the tunnel, how do you find the light and hope when you feel it’s a slogging journey? When it’s just so damn exhausting to try again or deflating to meet another “almost” person? How do you get through that? I’m going to talk about a few different ways. The first way that I want to talk about is this. A client once said to me, “I realize that no matter where I am and no matter what challenges I’m going through, the first question is always going to be the same. The acknowledgment and gratitude for what you have already and of how far you’ve come. The act of looking back from where you’ve been, seeing where you are, and seeing the arc of progress.” Incomplete still, but looking back and saying, “That’s where I came from.”

    Questions To Help You Think Why You’re Stuck

    Acknowledging the growth is a huge and important tool. We’re going to do that together because I’m going to ask you five questions. As you answer them, you will notice the ways in which maybe you might be still stuck in your journey or you’ll be able to acknowledge ways that you are progressing in your journey. If you’re feeling that you’re not progressing and you’re stuck. I’m going to give you a few questions to help you think about why you might be stuck. You might need to have some kind of intervention, tinkering, and shift. With that, you’re free again to continue moving forward. I want you to think about each one and you can answer it out loud or write it down if you want.

    Great things happen when we take on a conscious path to looking for love.CLICK TO TWEETLet’s start with these fabulous questions. The first question is in your journey, are you coming to understand and value your authentic self, gifts, passions, and your sensitivities more deeply? Are you, and think about that? Do you feel you understand and value your innate gifts, deep sensitivities, and passions more fully as opposed to thinking, “This is going to be too much. I’m going to get in trouble for this?” No one says you’re going to be romantically attracted to this. It’s too different and weird. Are you coming to treasure those parts and say, “This is who I am?” Take a minute and think about that. If your answer is yes, then that is truly something to cheer. It is something that will unequivocally shift the creation of the fabric of your future. It will shift the patterns of your future in good and important ways.

    I talk about two different kinds of the circuitry of attraction: attractions of deprivation and attractions of inspiration. That was the piece of my Deeper Dating book that Oprah.com excerpted. The ability to tell the difference and attractions of deprivation are attractions where the attraction is at least in part trying to get the other person to finally be available, do their part of the work, and treat you kindly with dignity and respect. There’s this passion for that because they’re almost there, but they’re not there. We can get lost in that forever. Those are attractions of deprivation.

    Attractions of inspiration are when we become sexually and romantically attracted to somebody because of his or her goodness, solidity, integrity, capacity, decency, availability, generosity of spirit and wonderful things. When we become sexually and romantically attracted to someone because of their goodness and their solidity and that’s woven in, we’re making the right choices. We are finally making the choices that are going to lead to a love-filled future. It’s a big choice point. That’s another question. Are you losing your taste for your attractions of deprivation and getting away from them more quickly? If so, that is something else to celebrate.

    DDP 78 | Search For Love
    Search For Love: When we become sexually and romantically attracted to someone because of their goodness and their solidity, we’re finally making the choices that are going to lead to a love-filled future.

     

    The third question is, are you increasingly following your attractions of inspiration? Are you noticing people like that more? Are you more interested in them? Are you spending more time with them? I know for me, attractions of inspiration used to seem boring. I love that spicy edge of an unavailable person. As I grew, I came to realize there’s a wonderful ancient Hindu saying that goes, “What we used to think was honey and then we realize it is poison. What we used to think is poison turns out to be honey.” I thought attractions of inspiration were the most boring thing that existed. I hated that I thought that because I knew that was going to get me in trouble, but I still thought it and I felt it. As I began to love attractions of inspiration more, my world changed truly.

    The fourth question, are you being yourself more in your relationships? There’s this wonderful saying, “Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don’t say it mean.” That’s from the world of twelve-step wisdom. Are you expressing your authentic self more fully in your relationships? If your answer to that is yes, this is also wonderful. If you are doing those things, you are moving closer toward the healthy love you dream of. These things are light in the middle of the tunnel. The fifth question is, are you adding to this recipe of growth a nice dollop of bravery, getting out there, virtually or in person? These days, it’s more virtually to meet new people. I always say this, virtual venues or in-person venues with people who share your passions, interests, and values are probably the best place to meet.

    Questions That Will Help Explain Your Stuck Point

    If you’re online, you can filter people’s profiles by those things. Every question you answered yes to is a cause for celebration. If you answered yes to at least two of those questions, the chances are good that your dating life is changing in significant ways. If you’re saying yes to more of those, maybe 3 or 4, it is possible that almost mysteriously you are meeting kinder and more available people and you’re more interested in them. Trust the path you’re working because it’s working. If you honestly feel that there are no significant changes occurring for you as a result of this inner work that you’re doing, there are a few questions I’d like you to ask. Usually, at least one of them is going to hold the key to explaining your stuck point.

    Willpower, in cases where we’re trying to change personality patterns, is one of the weakest tools in toolbox; support is the most powerful.CLICK TO TWEETIf you’re online, you can filter people’s profiles by those things. Every question you answered yes to is cause for celebration. If you answered yes to at least two of those questions, the chances are good that your dating life is changing in significant ways. If you’re saying yes to more of those, maybe 3 or 4, it is possible that almost mysteriously you are meeting kinder and more available people and you’re more interested in them. Trust the path you’re working because it’s working. If you honestly feel that there are no significant changes occurring for you as a result of this inner work that you’re doing, there are a few questions I’d like you to ask. Usually, at least one of them is going to hold the key to explaining your stuck point.

    Willpower, in cases where we’re trying to change personality patterns, is one of the weakest tools in toolbox; support is the most powerful.CLICK TO TWEETNumber one, are you in an actively abusive relationship of any sort? If you are, not only will you be being abused and hurt, which is profoundly depleting, diminishing, wounding, and traumatizing. There’s a secondary problem too. It’s a huge cost that come with these relationships. That is the deep-down belief that you somehow don’t deserve better gets reinforced every day you’re in this relationship. It gets reinforced every time you feel diminished by this person. In an abusive relationship, if it’s physically abusive and seriously emotionally abusive, get help to help get out.

    Don’t just get out because sometimes that could be dangerous unless you absolutely need to for health and safety reasons, then just get out. If you can get help in doing it, you will protect yourself in the process. I know somebody who has been in a relationship for a gazillion years. Her wife can be sharp-tongued and she hates it. My friend hates that. They have a deal and they’ve done this for many years. Every time the wife is sharp-tongued, she has to give my friend $0.25. No serious amount of money, but they love each other. As sharp tongued as her wife is, she’s a wonderful person and loves her. This works for them. I love that story. If you’re in a relationship where the abuse is not extreme, then that’s what needs to be worked on. It’s not okay for you to end up feeling diminished.

    Next question, do you have any untreated psychiatric disorders or any active addictions? When I say untreated psychiatric disorders, I don’t mean mild depression or anxiety, I mean, depression, anxiety, or other psychiatric conditions that destabilize you in regular ways from which you are either untreated or undertreated. You have not found a treatment that stabilizes you or you have an active addiction. If those things are true, none of this stuff is going to work or stick except to help get you into treatment at best. A relationship won’t be able to work until you address this. Stop and do that, make that commitment because nothing’s going to work until you do. There will be so much pain in not doing it and such a sense of mastery in tackling and addressing these things.

    Another one is are you doing this work alone without a learning partner or support? If so, it’s much harder. I would encourage all of you to find a learning partner. Somebody who will work with you and be with you as you learn your lessons of intimacy day by day and date by date. Who can listen, support you, and guide you in a way that’s not critical, but as warm and caring. I can’t tell you how important it is but the research backs it up 100%. I did a whole episode on this subject. Another one is are you resisting putting your heart into this work? That’s something to think about. In other words, doing it with gusto and diving into your intimacy lessons. I want to say it’s not easy.

    It’s humbling to say, “I see that I’m pushing love away. I am seeing my clay feet in this relationship or in the ways that I date.” This is one of the greatest things that we can give ourselves is that humbling acknowledgment. When that happens, we change. When that doesn’t happen, we feel ashamed and resistant to change. The last one I want to say, is there another issue, an old relationship you haven’t been able to let go of that’s blocking your progress? If any of these things are going on, I want to encourage you to take the brave step of getting support. If you’re stuck here, don’t try to fix it alone because your efforts will be much more weakened. Willpower, in cases where we’re trying to change personality patterns, it’s one of the weakest tools in the toolbox. Support is the most powerful. That’s a thought I want to share with you.

    In closing that in this phase, you might feel you’re stuck at some of the old familiar, creepy, sad, and frustrating crossroads that you’ve been at before in your dating life. Sometimes it might even feel like nothing’s different, but things are different. If you look more closely, you’ll see that you are coming to those old crossroads with a new set of tools. With a stronger sense of connection to your own gifts and hopefully with more support. At every crossroad, especially with support, you’ll notice that you’re making new micro shifts in your approach that have a little bit more self-love, self-dignifying, more passion, power, self-honoring, and kindness.

    You’ll notice these micro shifts and those micro shifts open new doors. When new doors open, that means that a new future is being formed, shaped, and sculpted. You’ll sense that something new is happening because you’ll feel glimmers of intimacy at points that once just felt like closed doors. Think about, which of these ideas hits you the most? The most useful is the most feeling like a guidepost for you. I encourage you to hold that to your heart, do something constructive and creative with it. Thank you for reading. I hope this was useful. I look forward to seeing you on the next episode of the Deeper Dating PODCAST.

  • The Simple Question That Will Lead You To Love [EP077]
    In this episode, you’ll learn the simple question that will lead you to a future that’s rich in love, growth, and adventure. Ken Page will tell how that question led him to become a single father, and, years later, meet his husband! By the end of the episode, you’ll have a wonderful and empowering intimacy tool for your own life.

    Table of Contents

    Watch the episode here:

    The Simple Question That Will Lead You To Love

    And The Story Of How I Became A Dad And Found Love

    In this episode, I’m going to share a personal story about my own journey to find love and become a dad. I’m going to share a simple process that is life-changing in its beauty to help you deepen into your own intimacy journey. So stay tuned to the Deeper Dating Podcast.

    Hello everybody, and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page – I’m a psychotherapist and a coach, the founder of the new way to meet online – called “Deeper Dating”, and the author of the book “Deeper Dating”.

    Today, we’re going to talk about one question that you can ask yourself that will change the course of your entire intimacy journey. I’m going to tell a story about how that has been true for me. This week, and every week, I’m going to share with you the greatest skills that I know to help you find love, keep it flourishing, and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of intimacy. And if you’d like a transcript of this episode  you can just go to DeeperDatingpodcast.com, and if you go there you’ll also get a number of free gifts from me if you decide to join my mailing list. I also just want to say that everything I’m going to share in this  podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical, psychiatric advice or treatment. Finally, if you like what you’re learning here, it would be a wonderful gift if you could subscribe on iTunes or elsewhere and leave me a review. Thank you so much for that and let’s dive in.

    The Path Is Never Simple

    The path to love is really almost never simple. When we decide to pursue our longing for love, we’re led to challenges and possibilities that we might never have dreamed of. For me, the decision to become a father as a 40-something, single, gay man in New York City is what changed everything for me. In this post, I’m going to tell that story. I’m also going to offer a really potent exercise for following your own call to love wherever it is that that leads you.

    I saw this beautiful movie called “Infinitely Polar Bear” with Mark Ruffalo and Imogene Wolodarsky, who was incredibly brilliant. In this movie, Mark Ruffalo’s character suffered from very severe manic depression, but he was still able to build a life. It careened wildly but it somehow worked because he loved his children. It made me think about parenthood and how any deep love can turn us inside out. It asks us to change in ways that we might never otherwise have been pushed and forced to change and face ourselves, and forces our world to open up in ways that we never would have thought of or chosen on our own. That made me think a little bit about my story, which I’m going to tell you a little bit about.

    I grew up and came of age as a gay man in the 80’s in New York City. I grew up gay in the ‘60’s and the ‘70’s. When I moved to New York, it was this giant theme park of recreational sex, dating conquests, and wild and insane dance marathons. I was on a desperate hunt for love. Usually, that hunt was a complete failure to me. I failed again and again. I never stopped trying and I never stopped hoping. I didn’t try in the wisest ways, but damn I tried.

    The path to love is never simple. It’s fraught with challenges and possibilities that we never dreamed of.CLICK TO TWEET

    A Revelation

    In my early 30s, I hit bottom and I found myself doubled over with this terrible sense of emptiness. It had been growing inside me for all those years that I was pursuing my career, pursuing loves, and having tons of recreational sex. Searching for love in a way that was that was laid out for me by gay male culture in New York City, but completely wasn’t working for me. I realized at a certain point that I had spent all this time looking for love, but I was ignoring the process of building love in my life. That was a revelation and there were so many pieces to that revelation.  So many, kinds of moments of painful awareness, many moments of, “I’m going to become someone who loves. I’m going to be someone who can have a pet.” That was big for me. That was a complete revelation that I could be someone who could take care of a pet. That was a big step for me.

    I didn’t know what to do with this revelation when it came to my life. At this point, I had worked through a number of emotional issues. God knows there’s always more, but at that point I had worked through really big stuff. I built this cardboard box and I kept it in my room. It had a slot in it. I wrote something on the top, I wrote, “I can do whatever the fuck I want.” That was what the box said. Anytime I had a new idea about what might be exciting or important or next for me, I’d write on a piece of paper and I’d put it in the box. Finally, I stopped doing that because I had a million ideas but none of them called to me in that intense way that I was looking for.

    Then in 1999, I saw another movie. I saw Almodóvar’s movie, “All About My Mother”. In this movie, the protagonist had something very painful happen to her. It was only through caring for other people that she found a through line out of her suffering. I saw this movie with a friend of mine. It touched me in this really deep way. I felt shaken somewhere deep inside in a way that I didn’t have words. I said to my friend, “I need a minute.” I went out and I found some quiet space. I was asking myself, “What is this, what is this feeling?” All these jumbled emotions resolved into an answer, I wanted to become a dad. Even though I was single, gay and 44, and nowhere near rich, all of a sudden I knew what I wanted to do. I was filled with excitement and terror and a sense of adventure.

    Becoming A Dad

    For the next year, I thought this through. I careened between, “I am going to do this,” to the other side which was, “Am I out of my goddamn mind?” I had a hard time making a decision because I didn’t want to make a stupid decision. I wanted to make a wise decision. I didn’t want to do it based on fear but I didn’t want to do it without an awareness of what this would do to my life. I went through this. I tortured my friends and my parents. They were wonderful, glorious and supportive. They let me struggle with this. My dad who I’ve spoken about in another episode called Losing Love and Finding It Again. He was a Holocaust survivor. He was completely silent through this whole thing. He did not want to influence my decision.

    At one point, after about a year, he broke his silence that he had managed to keep. He asked me, “Ken, do you really want a child?” I thought about that question like I had thought about it a million times before and my answer was still the same. I said, “Yes.” My dad’s response was stark and simple. He said, “Then you have to jump.” We were on top of the Queensboro Bridge at that time. The city lights were like jewels and the height was dizzying. His words were what I needed to hear. After that internal answer, I began the process that led me to my son. Nine months later, the day that I left for Cambodia, I had my last visit with my grandmother. She died while I was returning home with my son, and my sister who came with me. Her very last words to me were, “Children bring joy.” She had a picture of my son that I had gotten from the orphanage. She would kiss it and say that. She was about 100 at that time.

    She was right. My life has definitely been complicated and challenging in ways that I couldn’t have dreamt of in being a dad. There is one part of my heart that has felt full in a different way and that has never changed. Not that it hasn’t been complicated with having a son who’s a teenager, but still and all that has been true. With all of the challenges, I’m still floored by the privilege of being someone’s dad. So this  huge detour from my dating life, because this is what I was focused on during this time, which was listening to the call of love for me, leading me to some place I hadn’t dreamt of. This giant detour from my dating life is what led me to my husband. I’ve talked about this before, but the story is that Provincetown Family Week is an annual event for LGBTQ families. I had never gone because I just felt like it was going to be too depressing to be surrounded by all these happy coupled parents.

    DDP 77 | Finding Love
    Finding Love: Sometimes, we spend a lot of time looking for love that we ignore the process of building love in our life.

     

    Two of my closest friends actually were aggressive with me and they cornered me. One literally cornered me and pressed me up against a screen door. She said, “You are going.” She had never done anything like that to me before and I thought, “This gal means it.” Someone else did the same thing a little less aggressively but very clearly, “You’ve got to go, Ken.” I decided I was going to go. I felt I had no choice in the matter. It was not what I was feeling like love was calling me to do. It was what people who loved me and knew me were calling me to do. That was close enough. In the face of their passion, I listened. It was there that I met my husband, Greg, who was the father of two children. We have been a blended family since that day, I guess it’s going to be 12 years ago, very shortly.

    Sometimes love calls us into worlds that we never thought we have to enter. When it calls us, our challenge and our adventure is to say, “Yes.” This might be something you want to think about, even right now. How’s love calling you? My friend, Conner Middelmann-Whitney, who’s the author of  Zest For Life: The Mediterranean Anti-Cancer Diet, a wonderful book. She told me a beautiful story. At her wedding, it was a Quaker wedding, this elderly woman stood up and she shared this simple question that she said is what guided her. It was like the lighthouse for her through a long and good marriage. She said that at any point in her relationship with her husband, at any point of bewilderment, crossroads, difficult choice or challenge in her relationship with her husband, she would ask herself this, it’s such a beautiful question, “What is love asking of me?” That question was a wedding gift for Conner and her new husband. This is a wonderful question.

    What Is Love Asking Of Me?

    I encourage you as we move toward the closing of this episode to try this exercise right now. Don’t wait for the right moment, do it right now. Take a minute and ask yourself, “What is love asking of me right now in my life?” It might be a quick and easy thing. It might be a huge epic thing. It might be a little internal shift. It might be an action that’s hard or scary. Whatever it is, this is our mastery path, is asking ourself that question and then inching up to a yes and living that. That is how we become strong, resilient and loving human beings. That’s how we learn to love and respect ourselves. When we do this, worlds open up for us, just like worlds opened up for me. If you even want to take a minute to think about this, feel free to do that. Whatever you came up with, that’s your guiding insight.

    Asking that question is a way of righting ourselves and  guiding ourselves in the world. It becomes our fabulous next. When it does and we say yes to it, we become people who love better. This is a path to joy. Our answer is going to define the next intimacy adventure in our life. Saying yes will lead us to a future that might be less safe but will be more filled with the love that we desire, and will help us move into a place where more and more we feel comfortable and empowered in our bodies and our hearts. This is a fabulous and simple micro-meditation. A question that you can take with you and live to become more the person that you dream of being and desire to be. Thanks so much for listening. Please feel free to visit DeeperDatingPodcast.com or our new website, DeeperDating.com. I look forward to seeing you on the next episode.

  • How To Discover Your Unique Intimacy-Genius [EP076]

    You can discover your own unique intimacy genius, and this episode will teach you how. In the following audio and blog post, you’ll learn tools to discover your deepest Core Gifts, and you’ll learn how to use those gifts to create powerful and positive changes in your dating life, your relationships, and your capacity to love and accept yourself more deeply.

    Table of Contents

    Watch the episode here:

    How To Discover Your Unique Intimacy-Genius

    Everybody has their own qualities of intimacy genius. They’re unique to each of us. Stay tuned to this episode to learn how to discover your unique intimacy genius, and to use these gifts to help you build and create more love in your life.

    Today, I’m going to share with you how you can discover your own intimacy genius. This week and every week, I’ll share the greatest tools I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love. Those are the greatest skills of all for a happy rich life. If you want to learn more about deeper dating, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com. If you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get free gifts and learn how to use these ideas to transform your own intimacy journey. We’ve just created a new online platform for single people to meet. You could just go to DeeperDating.com to learn more about that. And when you go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com  you will get transcripts of every single episode including this one. I also just want to say that everything I share is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment. If you’re experiencing any serious symptoms, please do seek professional help. Finally, if you like what you’re learning here, I would love it if you could subscribe and leave me a review. Thanks to everyone who’s done that already.

    Heart And Soul

    Let’s jump in. I would say the heart and the soul of the biggest thing that I have learned in my entire intimacy journey and in my work with people who are seeking deeper intimacy in their lives is that the parts of ourselves that we’re the most embarrassed by, ashamed of, don’t know what to do with, are the places of our genius. These are the places, parts of ourselves that I call core gifts. They are where our deepest capacity for brilliance in intimacy lies but they’re challenging because they’re qualities of genius.

    The skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love.CLICK TO TWEETThey’re qualities where we feel things extra deeply, where we notice things extra closely, where we think in ways that are different and unique. These are the parts of us where we feel the most deeply. In this world, we are often shamed for those parts of ourselves because they’re places of our intimacy genius. In this episode, I’m going to teach you how to name and discover yours and how to learn how to honor them more deeply. The changes that create are gorgeous. That’s about all I can say there. I’ll say a lot more about that. We’re given this cookie-cutter sense of what intimacy is. You have to look a certain way to be attractive to people. You have to act a certain way to be attractive to people. You have to be this way with your masculinity, this way with your femininity, this way with your flirtation skills and all of this crap that could be interesting and could be useful in some ways, but is toxic when it steers us away from our authenticity, the real self that we are.

    If we try to be these other things that we’re not, this is what’s going to happen. People who see our weakness are going to prey on us, or we’ll just find the wrong people. Later, we have to come out as who we are to them, which can be a very complicated thing. What I would propose is that from your childhood, you have had qualities that have made you feel different, ways in which you felt too sensitive or too intense, too demanding or too different. Those places are the places where our beauty and genius lies. It’s an amazing process that we need to go to the parts of ourselves that when we were teenagers or when we were older, we learned were shameful, embarrassing, awkward and different. We need to go back and reclaim those parts and discover the beauty and the brilliance in them.

    If you think for a moment about the ways that you have felt different from others, the places in which you had heightened sensibilities, take a minute to think about that. Maybe you felt the pain of disconnection more and you longed for intimacy more. Maybe untruth bothered you more than it bothered other people. Maybe there was a deep kind of tenderness of spirit that felt too soft for the world, or maybe there was ferocity and intensity that felt too big for the world. Take a minute to think about this and think then about the messages that you got that those parts of you were problems.

    The truth is those parts of us are problems because they’re demanding. They’re intense. They’re fierce. They feel pain and they feel joy in these highly charged parts of ourselves in ways that we might not feel it in other ways. They’re the most intense parts of our being and hence, we’ve often felt like they’re just awkward, but the key to this entire intimacy journey is that they are sacred. They are precious. They are the center of your being. The more we learn to honor those parts of ourselves, the more our entire world changes and the more our search for love changes.

    Discovering Your Intimacy-Genius

    What are these qualities that I call your intimacy genius, or also in my books and my courses, I call your core gifts? Some core gift qualities are the ones that I’ve already said – a deep sensitivity, maybe a longing for sensual connection that goes deep, maybe a sense that through our sensuality or through our spirituality or our honesty, we can make a big difference in the world. Probably growing up, some of these qualities were problematic to our peers, problematic to our parents or problematic to everybody. The hero’s journey is going back and reclaiming those parts of ourselves.

    I’m going to speak a little bit about how to do that. The questions that will help you identify your intimacy genius are two big important questions. I’ve talked about them before. They’re a big deal. One question is in your day-to-day life, as you walk through your life, “what things hurt your heart? What things make you feel horrible, in pain, broken, wounded or wake you up in the middle of the night? What are the things that pull at your heart? What are the things that hurt your heart that keep you worried, that keep you concerned?”

    DDP 76 | Intimacy-Genius
    Intimacy-Genius: Our different geniuses run on different fuels, and our great fuel is the things that inspire us.

     

    If you go through your days and you notice consciously the things that hurt your heart, if you’re like most of us, the first thing you’ll notice is that inner voice that says you are too damn sensitive. When we can push that voice aside and become curious and say, “Maybe I’m too sensitive, but I’m interested in seeing what this was that hurt me so much.” We realize that maybe it was an interaction with someone we love, which was not kind, where truth wasn’t being told or was a part of you that was not being recognized or that you weren’t recognizing a part of the other person. These things might hurt your heart.

    Many people have the experience of their heart being hurt when connection is broken. They say that intimacy is a process of rupture and repair. For many of us, when the connection doesn’t feel right, when it feels broken, that causes a great deal of pain. This is something that I am hypersensitive to. For example, I can be talking to my husband. I can mention something that hurt or bothered me that happened in the family or in an interaction that worried me or concerns me or didn’t feel right. He might not have noticed it with the kind of intensity that I did. He would notice other things that I wouldn’t notice, but those are my gifts. I feel connection. I feel a break in connection.

    Good connection brings me intense joy, breaks in connection trouble me deeply. These are qualities that I did not know how to manage growing up. I thought of them as sicknesses. I thought of them as weaknesses. I thought of them as things that did not make me sexy or attractive, but the truth is that they are who I am. As I learned to honor those parts of me, which is the honoring of those parts of ourselves, the de-orphaning of those parts of ourselves, the reclaiming of those parts of ourselves and naming them as valid as not too sensitive, but precious, real and authentic, that is a process of true empowerment.

    When we do that, truly our attractions change, our search for love changes, our relationships change and our understanding of ourselves changes. The other question is, “what inspires me, what things in my day-to-day life fill my heart?” It may be that moment that you’re reading the paper and it feels like a break. The sense of peace and expansion of not having to do anything (hand raised) fill your heart. It may be a sexual connection that feels tender, beautiful and full of love. It may be an interaction with someone you love that feels exquisite. It may be somebody doing something brave or bold or kind. This is a study of ourselves that is one of the greatest studies that we can do, which is to notice what fills our heart, what inspires our heart.

    These are two questions that are the keys to the deepest user’s manual of our lives. I encourage everyone to think about this and ask yourself on a moment to moment like, “Ouch, I feel pain.” What is this? What was that pain? How might that have been a gift place in me where there’s a deep sensitivity, a deep kind of compassion, a deep awareness? It hurts, but it’s a gift. We experience quiet joys, or bursting joys, or soft joys, or senses of gratification in our day-to-day life that we normally would appreciate and move past. We realize that they are more than pleasures. They’re portals to our deepest self. They are portals to places where we can expand into joy in very special and important ways.

    They’re portals too because as you notice the things in your interactions with people that fill your heart, move you, make you feel peaceful, expansive, inspired or excited, you will find patterns. Again and again, you’ll see certain kinds of things that create that feeling for you. When you know that you have discovered the fuel for your genius because our different geniuses run on different fuels. Our great fuel is the things that inspire us. I would also say our great fuel is the things that hurt us, especially when we dignify their joys, but also the things that hurt us by recognizing this is touching me in a place that is deep. This must matter. What’s the gift here? What’s the sensitivity? How is that a gift?

    The Challenge Of Authenticity

    We go around minimizing our joys and not realizing that they are deep portals and telling ourselves we’re too sensitive instead of understanding that these are the places that we care the most deeply, which are the most human and beautiful parts of ourselves. When we honor those parts of ourselves, the potential for joy, the potential for authentic closeness increases dramatically. I also want to say though that this is not all sweetness in life. There are pain and the things that hurt us. There’s a challenge in the things that give us joy very often. There are mountains that have to be climbed to achieve that joy.

    There are deep places we have to go to and touch to learn how to bear, and live with, the sadness or intervene in different ways to create healing where there was once sadness. These are big things. These are hero’s journey things. Recognizing it is not like pink paint. It is a challenge, but it’s the challenge of authenticity. The more we do it, the more we experience self-love and the more we experience people who are our happiness, people gravitating toward us. I know this to be true. I’ve seen it in my own life. I’ve seen it with so many clients that I’ve worked with and I believe that it’s true.

    To add a little bit to the complexity here, you’ve got a kid who is a genius. That’s going to be a kid who’s going to need a lot of special care, special guidance, special help with interesting challenges that they experience. You’ve got intimacy genius qualities and you do. All of us do. They need special care. They need special guidance. They’re not going to be easy. They’re not going to get right out of the box instructions that are going to be workable. It’s a journey to learn to listen to these qualities and what they want because they’re going to ask for things that challenge us and challenge the people around us. That is the truth. It’s a great truth. It’s wonderful. Who would not want to cultivate their genius?

    There are challenges in the things that give us joy.CLICK TO TWEETSome of the things that happen, these are the parts of ourselves, obviously, where the charge is greatest. These are parts of us that exist in our psyche, which are most highly charged because you’ve experienced most joy and pain there. They’re the most highly charged places. You want joy. You fear the pain and these things, whatever they are, their meaning dense, like nutrient-dense, these parts of us. They have huge amounts of meaning. What does that mean? Without guidance and in the process of growing up, we’ve probably done a lot of stupid things around these gifts.

    We’ve suppressed them. We’ve acted them out in unhelpful ways. Usually, we have a lot of car crashes around our core gifts, our intimacy genius, where we did not have the tools. The pain was so great that all we could do was act out. When a child is impossible, when a child acts out, it’s because there’s a pain inside of them so great that they don’t have the user’s manual yet. That’s the best that they can do. That happens for us as well. There’s a journey, and it’s a fascinating journey, of discovering our user’s manual. What’s the fuel for my genius? Who are the people with whom I feel at home showing these qualities, hence safe, hence happiest?

    How do I show these qualities in an intimate relationship? What are the problems that come up when I feel and show them? What are the wonderful glorious things that happen when I feel them and show them and share them and give from those places? These are all parts of our user manual? What’s the pacing that I need? Elaine Aron speaks about the highly sensitive people beautifully. She talks about understanding, for example, highly sensitive people might need to pull away from intimacy. I know I’m a highly sensitive person. I’m an “HSP”, as Dr. Aron calls it. I know that I need to pull away from intimacy so that I can breathe. When I come back, I come back richer and more connected, but I need to pull away. It’s like a rocking motion back and then forth.

    God knows I did not know this for decades. Every time I felt the need to pull away, I shamed myself for it. I experienced it as a fear of intimacy. I can’t do this love thing because I feel myself pulling away. I learned to discover that pulling away and giving myself space and grace did not mean that I would keep continually pulling away. It meant that I would come back with more of a full sense of self. I need to do that more than a lot of people. This is not a cookie-cutter behavioral pattern, but it’s my pattern. Part of my intimacy genius is how deeply I care about relationships, which causes a lot of issues and a lot of beauty.

    DDP 76 | Intimacy-Genius
    Intimacy-Genius: The challenge of authenticity is that the more we do it, the more we experience self-love, and the more we experience people who really are our happiness.

     

    Finding Your Most Beautiful Self

    I want to offer everybody an exercise as we move toward the closing of this episode. That is to take a couple of days and the journal and note the things that hurt your heart. I’m talking about the big hurt. Yes, but I’m also talking about micro hurts, micro tears, micro sadness. It’s to notice the things that cause them and to think, what’s the part of me being hurt? What is the part of me that is carrying so much? Which is another way of saying the same thing. What is it in me that’s being hurt? What made it care? Is it carrying so much? How is that a part of who I am? To notice these things and you will find that in these places where you care enough, that you get hurt, that’s your angel self. That’s your most beautiful self. That’s the Holy self. That’s the self that can have wings. That’s the self that has compassion, but it needs to be held with honor.

    These are tools that were not taught, but they’re the deeper, richer tools of authenticity. Another question is again, to notice the ways in which your heart is filled, and you write these things down. You take notes. Moments that you feel inspired, that you feel touched, that you feel a melty feeling that you feel maybe like a prick of tears in your eyes, that you feel your heart swell, that you feel a sense of peace, intensified meaning and spaciousness. All of those wonderful feelings, note them. If you can, and this is a fun thing to do, hold them a little bit longer and let them ripple through your being, knowing that they are portals that are meant to be.

    Also think, “What is this that brought me so much joy? What is it that inspired me like that?” I’m going to put words on it. There was an act of kindness that was being done that made me feel so good or someone listened to me about something very tender. What is this listening thing? Is that something that matters to me? Is that something I’ve been in pain about because people can’t do that? Is that something I try to give to other people because I know how much it hurts not to be listened to? You will begin to notice the things that bring that joy for you. It might be creativity. It might be a sensual expression. It can be so many different things, but notice those things and then think, “what’s the quality in me here that is captured by this joy? What’s the quality in me here that is being fueled by this experience that is bringing me joy?”

    As we do this, we come to know who we are and these are rich, complicated, beautiful lessons. When we can share this stuff with the people who love us. Our relationships deepen in incredible ways if there are people who are willing and capable of doing that richer and deeper form of connection. Where it feels like they’re holding our unique being with cupped, spacious, kind and seeing hands. Those people are our gold.

    Thank you so much for tuning into this episode. I’m excited to get your feedback and what happens when you do this exercise, what you notice, what you discover, what it reminds you of, what it brings back for you. To share that, you can go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com and you can go click on Ask Ken, and you can leave me a message that describes that. Some of your messages I’m going to be sharing so you can also tell me, “Can I use the recording?” or do you prefer that I don’t? Should I use your name? Should I not use your name? All of those are fine and I always honor that. Thank you so much for reading. I’ll see you in the next episode

  • The 5 Most Important Points In Early Dating [E074]

    The 5 most important points in early dating often decide the course of your romantic future. At each of these points, there are intimacy-skills that make all the difference in the world. In this episode, you’ll learn the key skills to navigate these crucial points with wisdom, self-love and bravery.

    Table of Contents

    Episode Introduction: Important Points in Early Dating

    Important Points In Early Dating

    There are five points in the early dating journey where there needs to be an infusion of a few wisdom skills. In this episode, I’ll tell you what each of those five points are and the skills that will help you move through those stages to help you be able to find the love that you are seeking. Stay tuned to the Deeper Dating Podcast to learn more.

    Hello, and welcome to the Deeper Dating podcast. I’m Ken Page, and I’m a psychotherapist and the author of the book Deeper Dating and the host of this show. And today, I’m going to be talking about five particular points in the early dating journey where just a few skills can change your entire future in love and intimacy. And I’ll be telling you what those points are, and what those skills are.

    This week and every week, I’m going to bring you the greatest tools that I know to help you find beautiful love and keep it flourishing. Because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of intimacy. And the skills of intimacy are the greatest skills of all for a happy and rich life.

    If you want a transcript of this episode, just go to deeperdatingpodcast.com. You’ll find it there. If you join my mailing list, you’ll find out about a host of free resources, and courses and classes. And you’ll also get a free gift.

    Subscribe and Leave Ken a Review

    Subscribe and Leave Ken a Review
    Leave Ken a Review

    I also just want to say that everything I say in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice. if you feel you need help with serious psychological issues, please do seek professional help.

    Finally, if you like what you’re hearing here, it would be a wonderful gift if you could leave me a review and subscribe. Thanks so much for that. Now I want to jump in.

    So I think that there are five points that you could kind of think of as trigger points. Points that are super, super important, where there are choices that you make that affect the rest of your future in dating. Hence, the rest of your future in life.

    I want to point out what those points are. And then I want to say that what I really believe is that if we can kind of do a trigger point injection of just a few really important skills at each one of these five points, the degree of empowerment, and healing, and change that will happen can truly be profound.

    I constantly, constantly hear from people who are saying, “I’m experiencing relationships now that are intimate and connected, and warm and healthy.” Maybe sometimes people say it for the very first time and it’s because they are implementing these skills which are not Ken Page skills or Deeper Dating skills. They’re just the skills of love and the skills of intimacy.

    So let me share these with you.

    The First Among the Most Important Points in Early Dating

    The First Among the Most Important Points in Early Dating
    Photographer: Álvaro Serrano | Source: Unsplash

    The first point that I think is a really key point is an online dating point. It’s the creation of your profile. I just want to say a few things about creating your profile. What you want to do in your profile, and this is really important is to kind of show who you authentically are. Which means the things that matter to you, the things that bother you, the things that bring you joy. The things mostly that give you meaning, and that you have passion about.

    You want to describe yourself in a positive way. You don’t want your profile to be, “I don’t want this. I don’t want this. I don’t want this.” Of course, it’s important to list the things that are just absolute deal-breakers. But we definitely don’t want to come from a jaded place in doing our profile.

    The main thing is that we want to reflect who we are. So if there are stories that you can tell about things that have happened to you or things that you’ve done, that really kind of relate to what you want to capture but what you’re looking for and what matters to you. That is a great thing to do.

    Don’t worry about being witty. Don’t worry about being funny, and charming, and writing this perfect highly polished profile. I mean, it’s nice to have a really nice profile. I am all for that and you definitely want to show that you put time and effort into it. But you can also show the real you, and that’s such an important thing to do.

    A Metaphor for Your Entire Dating Journey

    This is a metaphor for your entire dating journey. It’s that experience of saying, “This is who I am and I love it and I’m going to be this person. I’m looking for people who really, really like what I have to say. And anyone else just is not for me.” So there’s a huge metaphor there. There’s a universality to what you do when you do your profile because it’s like what you’re going to do when you do your dating.

    The other thing I want to say is that when you look for pictures, of course you want pictures that make you look really good, that show you in your best light. But find pictures as well that show you glowing. You with that kind of quality that the people who love you the most would see these pictures and say, “That is really you.” In other words, do not be afraid to show yourself.

    So this is just some points that I think are really important in writing your profile, that we don’t always get taught. We get veered down the direction that we have to be really witty, and really charming, and whatever else. So yes, authenticity in your profile written from the heart is a big deal. It will draw people who are interested in finding someone like you. These are all obvious things, but they’re really important things.

    So the second kind of trigger point, choice point, really important juncture or nexus in the process is looking for people, searching for people. This applies in the online world and the in-person world as well.

    To Feel Safe Inside Is an Important Point in Early Dating

    This is something I’ve said so many times, and I will say so many more times. It is a sweet, and powerful, and transformative tool. And that is that when you meet people, you think, “With whom does my soul feel safe? Does my soul feel safe with this person?” Now that doesn’t mean that the person isn’t exciting.

    That the person doesn’t challenge you to think in new ways or do new things. All of those things are wonderful. But it’s a sense of safety that you feel inside that is like, “I could build a home in the world with somebody who has these qualities.” Now of course you won’t go that far, necessarily in the first date.

    But you will quickly, especially when you make this a conscious question, you will begin to sense when your soul feels safe with someone. When you make that a really clear goal, you will notice people with whom your soul feels safe and you will be more attracted to them. And I believe you will attract those people more. So that’s pretty amazing.

    I talk a lot about two circuitries of attraction that we all have. One circuitry of attraction that we have is attractions of inspiration. That’s where we can get turned on, fall in love, get sexually excited by someone who’s not only attractive but has a deep goodness. And the combo of those two things together is what we are looking for.

    The Best Places to Meet People

    The Best Places to Meet People
    Photographer: Rod Long | Source: Unsplash

    So when you search, when you look at people’s profiles, when you’re at a party, notice how a person makes you feel inside. Because you will notice quickly their quality of integrity, their quality of warmth. You may not know it all right away, but you will notice quickly.

    So search for those things. And really, really, really believe that one of the best places to meet people is an environment with people where people who share your values and passions congregate. This could be online, and it could be in real-time. But it’s a big, big, big deal. It’s a bigger deal than most people realize.

    Because when you’re in those environments, you shine. There’s a sense of connection that can happen. So that’s another really important point in the search process. If you’re doing that online, you can filter and search for qualities, attributes, and passions that you are most interested in.

    The last thing I want to say about this second point is this. Stretch your boundaries. Stretch your boundaries. If somebody lived 200 miles or 100 miles outside of your end zone of how far you’re willing to travel, and that person would be the soulmate of your life, would you say no to that person because they live that much further?

    Would you say no to your future with that person because they were just those extra miles? I doubt it. If the person was an inch or two taller, an inch or two shorter, five years older, five years younger. If you had this experience of deep desire, deep connectedness, and a shared sense of wanting to share your lives together, would you say no because of those issues?

    One of the Most Important Points in Early Dating Is to Soften Your Requirements

    So I want to really encourage you to soften your requirements in these initial stages. Really soften and stretch them to the degree that you possibly can. Then notice the chemistry and the connection. Because one thing about love that’s really funny is I feel like it kind of tweaks our nose. Because the person that we end up with who’s really wonderful for us is just not at all who we pictured.

    I think that’s a really important thing is to be able to stretch wider and further around all these things that I’m talking about here. Even educational level. Somebody might be of higher education than you’re necessarily comfortable with. But that’s you stopping yourself. Someone might not have the degree that you require and could be brilliant in many different ways, apart from book learning. So another area where I encourage you to stretch. I feel that people don’t stretch enough in those areas.

    But the area that I often, often, often, often wish people stretched more in my classes and my courses, in the emails I get, in the clients that I work with, I see this again and again when it comes to character, when it comes to someone being committed to treating you well. You do not want to stretch in those things.

    You want someone who has curated a life of decency, a life of integrity. You do not want anyone else. You want to be that kind of person too. So I think that’s a really important thing. If someone treats you badly and it’s a real habit of theirs to treat you badly, that’s just not okay.

    The Initial Reaching Out

    Now if you find that happening and you share what you need, what doesn’t work with the person and they respond, and they listen, and they hear it, well, that’s what good relationships are made of.

    But if someone is hurtful consciously again and again, and they gaslight you about it, they say it’s not a big deal, they want you to kind of let go of it and just keep moving on, that’s not okay. So that’s where I encourage you to be even more discriminating.

    So the third stage that I just want to share some thoughts are about the initial reaching out. Now, this initial reaching out might happen in person and it might happen online. But there are just a few really important points that I want to make.

    The first point is this, modern dating culture has sped things up so quickly that there’s not really enough space for graciousness, kindness, generosity, and listening. You want to hold all of those things. You want to be kind. You want to be gracious. You want to be thoughtful. And if other people aren’t, then you recognize that. You want someone who recognizes those qualities and reflects them back.

    This is how instantly you could save huge amounts of time by just being kind of this very warm, decent, caring you. If someone doesn’t get it, if they walk on it, if they can’t give that back, then you know right there. So you’re setting a higher bar and that’s a beautiful and good thing to do. I highly encourage it, highly encourage it. Because you want someone who is essentially kind, and decent, and thoughtful in those same ways.

    Important Points in Early Dating That Lead to Happiness

    Important Points in Early Dating That Lead to Happiness
    Photographer: Andreas Weiland | Source: Unsplash

    These are the things that really lead to happiness and we swallow our sensitivity. We say, “No, I should get used to this unkindness. I should get used to this cocky, arrogant attitude.” No, we should not be getting used to that stuff.

    Then another one is bravery. Really kind of developing the muscle of approaching people or talking to people who interest you. And when I used to lead Deeper Dating events in person, which is how I began in this whole journey, there was a period where people had to give out their phone numbers. These were in-person events.

    People had to give out their phone numbers. The rule of the game was that if someone gave you their number, you had to thank them and then have a moment of gratitude. To just honor that this was a gift. You did not have to call them if you really chose not to. Some people were built and did things in such a way that they would want to let somebody know. This is not really a match.

    Other people often felt like, “Well, I wouldn’t want somebody to do that to me. I don’t want to get a message like that. I’d rather they just don’t contact me.” So people made their own rules, but the ground rule was you always said thank you.

    And what people would discover is that they would build a muscle of going up to strangers, or smiling at strangers, or starting a conversation with strangers. It’s hard and it’s scary. But man, that is a really beautiful and important skill.

    Moments of Bravery

    It’s almost like every one of those moments where you’re brave like that. It’s like you’re visiting a foreign country for the first time. There’s an excitement. There’s an adventure. There’s a fear. Really those moments of bravery are incredible things. I know how hard they can be, but I want to really encourage that kind of bravery.

    So then the next point is like first few dates. Bunch of things I want to say about that. One thing is that if there is some spark because you cannot force sexual interest. It’s kind of cruelty to yourself to force yourself to be attracted to someone who you’re not attracted to.

    But if the person is kind of hot, if there’s kind of a spark, if there’s kind of a sense of potential sexual interest. If there are parts of their body, or their face, or their laugh that yeah, turn you on, even though other parts don’t as much. And they’re awesome people and you love who they are, stick with it. Because it will not stay static.

    In time, you’re either going to get more attracted to them and they’ll get more beautiful to you. Then you’ll know what to do, or they won’t. You’ll just really see nope, nope, it’s not going in that direction. I know it’s not and then you honor that as well.

    But don’t just look for the people with whom you unequivocally are completely sexually attracted to, right from the start. Look for people with whom there’s a spark and then get to know who they are. This is a big deal. It’s really, really important.

    Allowing Gentler Sparks and Enjoying the Person Are Important Points in Early Dating

    And even if you’re really, really, if you have hair-trigger eyes, that it’s got to be an exact, certain type, just watch. When you let yourself be with people who there’s some spark with and you let yourself fantasize about those sparky places with them and there’s a goodness, and a decency, and a wonderfulness in your connection, stuff grows.

    And the research shows the majority of people who were in good longterm relationships did not have love at first sight. So just an interesting thing to note.

    So that’s one thing that’s really important is allowing a gentler spark and enjoying the person and getting to know them and giving space for that spark to grow. The other thing I just want to say about this is what we know is that those people who make us crazy, crazy, crazy attracted, from the beginning, very, very often are not available or aren’t going to treat us quite right. And something inside our psyche knows this and wants to prove our worth by getting them to embrace us. Because we know that somehow they won’t fully do that.

    Sometimes the people who we kind of feel that they really will embrace us for who we are we feel a little like, “Ew.” For those of us who have self-esteem issues, that’s a normal thing. I call it the wave. I write about it a lot. I speak about it a lot. I have had it a lot. That’s not for this episode.

    The Single Greatest Saboteur of Healthy, New Love

    The Single Greatest Saboteur of Healthy, New Love
    Photographer: Devin Avery | Source: Unsplash

    But I think it’s the single greatest saboteur of healthy, new love. So I would say look in my book, look in my online course, or just look up the episodes where I speak about the wave so you can learn more about that.

    When you’re on your date with someone, don’t play it cool. Don’t do that. It won’t work. It’s so not worth it. Talk about what you’re passionate about. Listen to what the other person is passionate about. Because truly, truly, truly and the research backs this up, listening well is an aphrodisiac. Not listening is a turnoff.

    Now if you’re drinking on the first date and you’re drinking a bunch, you will not even really notice probably. But if you’re sober and you’re noticing, you will be able to tell – it’s just the best feeling when someone does deep listening.

    So listening is a glorious aphrodisiac.

    Talking about what you’re passionate about, eliciting what the other person is passionate about, and being just a little bit extra real, and extra authentic. That kind of shifting from a smooth surface of who you think you’re supposed to be to the textured surface where people can really feel the gritty essence of your being, your saltiness, your humanity, your imperfections, your vulnerability. That stuff’s really sexy and awesome.

    I quote this often, Brene Brown says, “ vulnerability – it is the last thing we want to show, but the first thing we look for in another person.” And along that kind of direction of things, one last thing I want to say is that the research shows that playing hard to get is not the way to go.

    Showing Enthusiasm Is One of the Most Important Points in Early Dating

    This is researched information. The way to go is to show your enthusiasm. Of course, then you want to give the person space because they might be kind of integrating that sense of, “This person really likes me.” That may take a little bit for them to integrate that. So they may not instantly act as enthusiastically right back, but you will know.

    And if they’re not interested, then that is another thing you’ll know. But, the risk of showing your enthusiasm is dramatically less than the risk of showing coolness and coldness and acting like you don’t care. Or that you’re not excited about someone when in fact you are. So allow yourself that joy of enthusiasm.

    So the last kind of site in this early dating journey that I want to talk about now is when feelings start to grow. So I’m not going to talk much now about if feelings aren’t growing, that’s a kind of separate issue. But I’m going to talk about what happens when you’re dating someone and feelings begin to grow.

    What I want to say is, and I’ve said this in other episodes, don’t have sex too early. Don’t have sex when you’re intoxicated early on. Because your first sex should not be when you’re intoxicated if you can avoid that.

    Because what happens is there are repercussions for many of us when we have sex too early. Where we either get really kind of needy and clingy and insecure. Or we just want to get the hell out of dodge. We just want to get away.

    A Back and Forth Between Excitement and Fear

    It is best to wait until this amazing, amazing process that happens when the bond with someone starts growing. Because your brain, your heart, your sexuality, all starts specializing in your connection with this person. Like invisible tendrils of connection start to develop in your psyche for them.

    It’s a very beautiful and gentle thing. You don’t want to force it to go quicker than it’s ready to go. Now that does not mean that you cannot and should not be having sexual fantasies about that person and enjoying, picturing different sexual and sensual things with them. That is all wonderful.

    Putting aside if you have sexual compulsion issues, that’s an area to get support on and be careful about the advice that I just gave, might need a little bit of modification there. This is such an exciting time and such a scary time and the tendency might be not to show your enthusiasm because it feels so risky. But again, it is fine to show your enthusiasm.

    But just give the other person space too. Because especially in these early stages for many of us, there’s a back and forth between excitement and fear, excitement and fear. So you want to give the person space to breathe. That’s a really good thing to do.

    Now that does not mean that you get to text them and they don’t answer you for three days. That’s just not nice. So you have a right to say what you need in terms of communication. But it is an important time to know that you will have fears and the other person will have fears at different points.

    The Key to Handling the Wave

    But as the feelings grow, you might have the wave experience, which I talked about just a few moments ago. And as I said there, I guess I will say something about the wave here. And that is that the wave is when you meet someone, and you like them, and they like you and they feel decent, and they feel available. All of a sudden, your sense of desire just kind of drops. It disappears. You find things that irritate you about them. You feel kind of horrible because you don’t want to feel obligated, but you have absolutely no feelings for this person anymore. Your feelings just disappeared.

    All of a sudden, they just irritate you and you feel nothing for them. You hear me speaking passionately because this wave dynamic is what stopped me from being able to have a relationship for countless years of my life.

    The key to handling the wave is not to run, and not to suffocate yourself by bringing on more closeness than you’re ready for. Giving yourself enough space that there’s air between the two of you, that there’s room to breathe, that you don’t feel suffocated. But not fleeing all together. Taking the space you need, which is a beautifully adult action.

    When you can do that, and when the other person allows that, in very many cases, you will feel the energy of desire kind of whooshing in again. Coming back, even though it felt like it disappeared. This is something I learned through a lot of work. I’ve worked with so many people, so many of us experienced the wave. So that’s another point that I want to make.

    Honesty and Truth Play Important Points in Early Dating

    Honesty and Truth Play Important Points in Early Dating
    Photographer: Joël de Vriend | Source: Unsplash

    Another point I want to make is the importance of honesty and truth. That it’s really important that your partner gets a sense of your realness and your vulnerability. This beginning stage is so precious and so wonderful.

    Now because it’s so exciting, and it’s so charged, and it’s also so scary, we need the help of friends, coaches, therapists very often in this phase. Because in this phase, we get afraid and we enact patterns that push intimacy away unconsciously. We think we know just what we’re doing.

    But when we talk to a friend, our friend says, “Well, that wasn’t really that nice.” Or, “Maybe you weren’t really hearing what they said.” Or, “I don’t think they meant it that way.” Or, “No, ask him to go to the museum with you.” So thank God for friends in this stage, because we get scared and we start acting in old ways.

    At this point, when you’ve integrated these different skills into each one of these kind of trigger points. When you’ve been able to inject this wisdom and goodness, and kindness, and intimacy skills into each one of those points, your dating life and your dating experience is going to be immensely different and you will find in almost all cases that the quality of your dating life changes and that you are much, much more likely to meet people and bond with people who truly, truly are good for you. That’s what we want. These are the skills that we don’t get taught that set us on a path that really leads to love.

    Afterword

    So I’m so happy to be able to share these particular skills and these particular points with you. Thanks so much for listening, and go to deeperdatingpodcast.com to join my mailing list and get a free gift. And I look forward to seeing you on the next episode of the Deeper Dating podcast.

  • How to Cultivate Authentic Intimacy in Online Dating: Relationship Coach Jordan Gray [EP073]

    If you want to cultivate authentic intimacy in online dating, here’s the most important thing to know: It’s not about tricks and gimmicks. It’s about the bravery to be yourself! In this episode, the wonderful Jordan Gray teaches the steps we need to take to do exactly that. There are love-lessons ( and life lessons!) in this episode that are truly not to be missed!

    Table of Contents

    Episode Introduction: Authentic Intimacy

    Authentic Intimacy

    How do you bring real authenticity and vulnerability and aliveness and eros to virtual dating. Stay tuned to the Deeper Dating podcast. As I interview Jordan Gray and he teaches us powerful methods for doing that both in our virtual dating life and our real-time dating life.

    Hello, everybody and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist and the author of the best-selling book, Deeper Dating: How to Drop the Games of Seduction and Discover the Power of Intimacy.

    Today, I’m going to be talking with the truly inspiring relationship coach, the author Jordan Gray about how to bring deep authenticity, romance, and when the time is right, hot sex into your virtual dating life.

    Every week, I’m going to share with you the greatest tools I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love and skills of love are the greatest skills of all for a happy life.

    If you want to learn more about the deeper dating path to real intimacy, just go to deeperdatingpodcast.com. If you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get free gifts and you’ll learn about how to use these ideas to transform your own intimacy journey.

    You’ll also find a complete transcript of this and every other episode. Also, I just want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment. If you’re experiencing any serious psychological or psychiatric conditions, please seek professional help.

    Subscribe and Leave Ken a Review

    Subscribe and Leave Ken a Review
    Leave Ken a Review

    Finally, if you like what you’re learning here, it would be a fabulous thank you if you subscribe on iTunes or elsewhere and left me a review, so thanks so much for that. Now, let’s jump in. I want to introduce my guest who actually I think I did my first podcast interview ever with Jordan. It still really stands out as a very special experience.

    Jordan Gray is a five-time number one Amazon best-selling author and a public speaker and a relationship coach with more than a decade of practice behind him. His work has been featured in the TimesBBCForbesSelfCosmopolitanEntrepreneurElephant JournalGood Men Project, and countless other publications around the globe. He’s made it his life’s mission to make thriving relationships attainable to everyone.

    Since 2009, his writing has reached an audience of well over 80 million people from around the world. In the course of this interview, you’ll see why because the blend of smarts and passion for growth and true authenticity just shines from this guy. Jordan, it’s great to have you here.

    Jordan: Ken, it’s so good to be here. I appreciate you having me so much, and yes, the interview that we did three or four years ago still holds a massive place in my heart, so I’m very happy to be here.

    Ken: I’m so glad. We’re going to jump in and talk about so many different things, but both of us have agreed that a lot of people are wondering, how the hell do you do a virtual date and have it not be boring or flat or go too far, too fast or not have a quality of aliveness?

    How to Bring Romance and Authentic Intimacy in Virtual Dating

    How to Bring Romance and Authentic Intimacy in Virutal Dating
    Photographer: Dima Pechurin | Source: Unsplash

    Ken: What can you do to create virtual dating situations that feel organic, that allow connection, that build connection and that really work to further a relationship when you can’t be together in person? I know you wrote a blog post recently on having wonderful sex on Zoom or a virtual date.

    I wanted to expand this to absolutely talk about sex, but also talk about early dating, talk about how to bring romance and authenticity into every stage of the dating process when you’re doing it virtually. I’d love to hear any of your thoughts and reflections on this.

    Jordan: Absolutely, yeah, I think the first thing that I want to touch on is really acknowledging that just because there are now screens involved or at least more heavily involved than they might have been before doesn’t mean that the foundational guidelines don’t apply.

    Ken: Right.

    Jordan: I was talking to someone the other day and they’re saying that “Oh, I’ve been talking to my parents more than I had. I’m talking to my parents more in the last month than I had in the years prior. I don’t know how to have a conversation with them via Zoom.”

    I was like, “Well, did you not have a conversation with them before? Are you really blaming the virtual medium or was it just already sticky and that’s just being done, much more highlighted in conscious awareness?

    The Discomforts of Doing Online Dating

    Jordan: The foundational guidelines of dating kind people and being honest about the truth of who you are and what you’re looking for, these things still apply as much as they ever have, if anything, because we don’t have the distraction of meeting up for a first date with someone and having physical attraction take up a lot of your mental and emotional bandwidth.

    It’s now much easier to not drown in our projections and stories of who the person is or who we’re trying to present ourselves at. There’s the opportunity for a bit more rawness and direct communication right out the gate.

    I think that is something interesting that I’ve been hearing from a lot of my clients lately is just, “I could hide in certain ways by showing up as my absolute best self in a face-to-face first date, but now with just communication or just a video chat, it’s that much harder to juggle the plates of falsity and pretend that we are something that we aren’t.”

    Ken: I love that. There’s so much in that. It makes me think of something Marianne Williamson said where she said, “Sometimes getting naked is the quickest way to avoid really getting naked.”

    That’s one piece of this, but the other piece is so interesting what you brought up that the discomforts that we feel in doing online dating are reflective of discomforts often that are there anyway and this highlights that for us.

    Jordan: Exactly. I think it is a bit more stripped down.

    Up Leveling Your Levels of Honest Communication

    Jordan: Even if you do put on a full face of makeup, you can’t hypnotize someone with your amazing perfume or cologne when you’re just sitting and looking at them via FaceTime and that’s the extent of the connection or relationship that you’ve had with them thus far.

    Ken: There you are and you’re having a date with someone and you feel this, I don’t know, maybe a flatness or a one-dimensionality because that sexual feeling, that erotic feeling, that romantic feeling, that that feeling of physical chemistry just can’t be there. What do you do at that moment to take advantage of the situation, to make it work, to go deeper? Any thoughts on that?

    Jordan: Yes, the most important thing that I would highlight is up-leveling your levels of honest communication. I would say the same thing to people that are in an early relationship but are not self-isolating together, so they’re in separate homes. When the nourishment of physical touch is absent, it’s imperative that you up-level your honest communication.

    I do the same thing for people that are early in their dating process, on the first date or even in the first several dates. I think it really behooves people to be as clear and honest and direct about themselves and the reality of their lives and their emotions than they necessarily would on an in-person first date.

    Honest Communication Promotes Authentic Intimacy

    Honest Communication Promotes Authentic Intimacy
    Photographer: Volodymyr Hryshchenko | Source: Unsplash

    Jordan: I think that the falseness, because there is a sense of falseness or the diet soda version of human connection, online versus in person. I think that any whittling away of our truth is just that much more felt by anyone when it’s, “Okay, this is through a screen and on person, and so if I’m also trying to hide the truth of my heart or the truth of my core gifts, I think that that sting is felt to a much higher degree.”

    Honest, direct communication even more so than you would naturally or appropriately “give” according to the majority of societal dating rules – it’s that much more important to really not hide in the early dating process.

    Ken: Wow. First of all, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody express this instruction in that kind of a clear way. I just think for all of the countless millions of people, single, coupled, anything – wondering about dealing with the flatness of a virtual screen when you’re communicating, what you just said, Jordan, is brilliant and so incredibly important.

    I just want to say that when you’re hanging out with Jordan, which I have never done live, but we’ve done it on video, you instantly feel that, Jordan, you just keep calibrating toward authenticity. Whatever is going on, you’re just calibrating toward the authenticity of your heart. You’re a living example of doing that, which is fabulous.

    Jordan: Thank you.

    Ken: It’s really true, but so now, I want you to take us through how the hell to do that. I’d like you to take us through that for people who are newly dating.

    How to up Level Your Authenticity

    Ken: How do you up-level your authenticity, the honesty of your communication, when you’re in a first or second date? I’m going to take you through the whole thing here of relationships, but let’s start there. Any thoughts or reflections you have about that? Any guidance?

    Jordan: Sure. I think that in chronological order, one of the most high-leverage things that people can do is really audit your relationship history and see the ways that you’ve either been most prone to hiding or certain aspects or gifts of yourself that you have been the fastest to tuck in your back pocket and go, “This part is not safe to talk about, so I’m going to really put this way on the backburner, on the top shelf.”

    Just really auditing where am I most prone to hiding? That doesn’t mean that every person that you go on a first date with and the first 10 minutes of meeting them virtually, especially that they inherently deserve your deepest truths.

    “Well, I’m just going to be irresponsible with my energy and just dump all of my baggage at this person’s screen and then expect them to deal with it because,” that’s not necessarily self-honoring either, but yeah, I think really auditing, “How do I hide them most?

    If I know that the depth of my ability to love or my sensitivity or my caring or my high-powered career, whatever it is for the individual, whatever those things are, you go, “This is the least safe part of myself to bring.” Really monitor moment to moment, “Did I just go through an hour and a half long FaceTimeZoomSkype call with our first date?

    How Soon Is Too Soon

    Jordan: If I really look back on how I’m showing up, did I make sure to tiptoe around that and avoid it at all costs, and if so, how do I think I’m benefiting from that practice?”

    If I were to even allude to, or gently drop hints, that these are significant aspects of myself or important things that I’m looking for in a relationship, I think that is actually much more self-honoring to be direct and clear about, “Well, here’s really a piece of the center of who I am.”

    If this is something that is immediately a red flag or something the other person doesn’t want or isn’t at a point in their journey where they are willing to love or accept or appreciate that, then that’s fine and you can save both of yourselves the time.

    To me, this is the same thing as when female clients laugh like, “How soon is too soon to let a potential dating prospect know that I want kids?” I say, “As soon as there is any legitimate potential. As soon as there’s any chance of you thinking, ‘You know what?

    I’m pretty sure there’s something here,’ you’d want to be honest about that upfront or within the first couple of days instead of going, ‘Okay, well, I’ll just park this until four months in because I don’t want to appear as, fill in the blank, way that I secretly judged myself.’”

    Ken: I love this. I think, once again, you’re like hitting right in the center of the center. Just a couple of thoughts on this. I think this is where your workaround authenticity and my workaround authenticity joins so beautifully because that’s the place where our core gifts live.

    Powerful Qualities That Attract Authentic Intimacy

    Powerful Qualities that Attract Authentic Intimacy
    Photographer: Nadir sYzYgY | Source: Unsplash

    Ken: We can all ask ourselves the question, “What am I most timid to reveal in my romantic life?” and those are qualities, core gifts, that are nuclear. They’re incredibly powerful. When we hide them, we flatten our beings. When we reveal them, yeah, we’re exposed and we’re vulnerable, but there is an aliveness.

    For someone who cares about that quality, that’s a swoony thing to hear people do that to reveal those parts of themselves. I loved that you said that about, “I want to have kids,” because so many women are just trained that like, “You’re just not supposed to say things that scare the man or your partner away.”

    I just have to tell a little story here which is a dear friend of mine. She did the rules, all that stuff for women that says, “Don’t chase the man. Don’t say too much. Don’t be too much. Don’t be too demanding.” She did that. She did that. She got some useful ideas out of it, but then she met this guy and she really, really liked him.

    It was early in their relationship and they were hiking together and she said to him, “All right. I got to tell you this. I want to have kids. I want a family and I want to have kids. If that doesn’t work for you, that’s really okay, but this feels like it could be going somewhere. I need to say this,” and she was terrified.

    He just looked at her and he said, “Where do I sign up?” They’re together maybe 20 years later. I just love that story because she was brave enough to really express what mattered to her. I love what you’re saying.

    A Reflection of Inner Beliefs

    Jordan: What a beautiful response too. I love the wording of, “Where do I sign up?” It’s like, “Yup, I’m down. Let’s do this. Two feet in? I’m available.”

    I think that’s something that doesn’t get enough airtime, is that what you are, especially if there’s been a series or a pattern of unfamiliar relationships or you’ve had five potential partners in a row, that you found the same frustration with or the same thing that they weren’t accepting of or appreciate you over and over, this pattern of people that have been attracting, they’re all a reflection of your inner beliefs which includes your self judgments.

    If you attract, to my writing, a lot of women who do have high-powered careers and are entrepreneurs or lawyers and very effective and out there in the world doing big important work and without fail, every single time a client like that comes to me and says, “Oh, all men are intimidated by me or every guy that I go out and meet, they just don’t like that I have a career and they feel small.

    They feel like they’re in my shadow,” it’s, at least thus far, always an instance of, “How are you making your career or your power or potency wrong because there’s some aspect of you that thinks, ‘Well, yeah, I am intimidating or I am too much in some way’?”

    Because there is that unconscious belief being held, those relegated to the shadow years or decades prior. The script precedes the actors. The script is in her mind.

    Creating an Opening That Allows Authentic Intimacy to Come In

    Jordan: The script is looking for actors to fill those roles and go, “Oh, see, he’s intimidated. There’s another one, so they’re all intimidated because I am too much. Just like my primary caregiver told me I was 30 or 40 years ago.” Really getting in touch with those aspects of going, “You know what? I don’t have to carry the story anymore.

    I don’t have to drop it entirely and have it go from 100% feels real and true to me to 0% I’m over it,” but at least having that sliver, that wedge of doubt of, “Okay, you know what? Maybe not everyone, maybe not all of the people think that I am too much in this way, and if I soften my own self-judgment, I’m creating that opening that then allows me to meet and attract people that also have a more beneficial or positive relationship to this thing in myself that I’m now making friends with.”

    Ken: Absolutely, and that’s a formula. If you have a pattern of meeting people who don’t know how to honor a particular part of you, you could be pretty sure that it’s a treasured important part of you that you haven’t been able to fully honor. I just want to say something here because this is a really important point to me, as a gay man who has been very hurt by gender role expectations.

    Old Sexism in a New Age Bottle

    Ken: When I hear a woman, a high-powered, accomplished woman say to me, “No, but I hear that if I let go of my femininity, I’ll never find an alpha male,” and then some really big important teachers saying the same thing which I think is old sexism in a new age bottle.

    There’s this cultural messaging for women about what femininity means and how being too in your power and in the joy of your empowerment scares men away. It’s just crippling, crippling advice. I just pray for the world to change more quickly around that.

    Jordan: Absolutely. I think that that’s one of the biggest, I see it as slow and it is happening, but I’m definitely in there, pushing the wedge in further and further and making it the best ability happen faster that, yes, this hyperpolarized 100 %, 0% ideologies of if you’re this gender or this orientation, you’d be extremely this and not the other side. I think that there’s a mass integration happening where people are having it be more of a continuum of, “You know what? I can be 80% this, 20% this or 50% this and 50% this and I can deploy these different energies or tones or temperaments in different aspects of my life with different people and the whole thing is just this ever-shifting collage.”

    What could be more healthy, whole, and integrated than having a massive toolbox that you don’t just have access to 20% of it and the rest are off-limits to you but every single tool is available to you.

    A Deeply Held Belief in Society

    A Deeply Held Belief in Society
    Photographer: Larm Rmah | Source: Unsplash

    Jordan: It’s the healthiest for your body, your heart, your sex life, your love life to say, “You know what? All of these are available to me. None of these are wrong, or shameful or incorrect. All of these tools are lovable and I’m allowed to deploy all of them in different areas of my life when I use my judgment to do so.”

    Ken: Absolutely. That’s one of the ways that the LGBTQ community has helped lead the way in the world. That’s also just a gift and I know that you, and I as a gay man, as a heterosexual man are so committed to that same kind of authenticity.

    Jordan: I wouldn’t say it baffles me, but it still fascinates me that one of the through lines of my work that still to this day gets the most pushback is I, semi-regularly, will post photos of myself or articles about the concept of male tears and men crying and how male emotionality is healthy and allowed and great and functional.

    I get just hundreds of people, almost exclusively men pushing back and just saying horrendous, nasty things, but there’s a part of me that’s excited by it. It’s like, “Okay, I’m hitting on this nerve that someone really deeply defends.”

    If I put out a single photo myself crying and a guy takes time out of his day to tell me that I’m ruining gender dynamics and like, “You have to stop this immediately,” and I’m like, “I’m really touching on something important. There’s a deeply held belief in society that still has not been eroded fully and there’s still work to do.” I welcome it and it’s exciting. I do see us as making progress overall.

    How to Reveal Your Soul Qualities

    Ken: Me too. This relates to what you just said, because everybody, the qualities that you have, that you hide because they seem too “masculine or feminine,” whatever those qualities are, are nuclear places.

    Those are core gift places and they apply to what Jordan just said, the qualities that feel, let’s say, too “feminine” for a man, too masculine for a woman, those are soul qualities and the degree to which we don’t treasure them is the degree to which we’re going to be attracted to people who also don’t treasure them. Super, super important thing.

    I just want to operationalize this a little bit more – so Jordan, could you just give an example, somebody who’s in a virtual date, it’s one of the early dating experiences with this person and they think, “Okay, here’s a part of me that I’ve been a little bit ashamed or awkward to talk about, but it’s at the center of me,” how they might do that and reveal it?

    Because you also said if you give it short shrift in a certain way, it might not work. I know so many people who share those parts of themselves in early dating, but they do it so timidly that the other person feels awkward too and doesn’t pick up and then the person feels like, “Oh, they don’t get this quality in me.”

    Could you just give us an example of how somebody might feel awkward about sharing a part of themselves and how they could do that in early dating?

    Jordan: Absolutely. Just to name directly, I think that leaning more towards, being overly clear and overly direct in the presentation of it or the asking of it, I think, it’s better safe than sorry.

    At the Risk of Momentarily Neutralizing a Sense of Passion

    Jordan: Yes, if you are lobbing out a thing that feels really like emotionally significant for you, but there’s even a chance of, “You know what? This thing that I’m sending off that might feel like a big obvious flare gun might not even be a blip on their radar,” if you’re not sure that it did land, then again, if it is one of the core gift, deeper things you might have held some wounding around in the past.

    I think that at the risk of momentarily neutralizing a sense of passion or romantic mystery. I think it’s better to be clear on those things than, “Oh, well, I put out this very subtle hint that they must have picked up on it and I’m going to now mindread and interpret through my bias filters and go, ‘Okay, well, I lobbed out that hint and they didn’t like it, so they probably hate that, so that part about me is still lovable thereby justifying my story or reinforcing it and never just ghosting them,’” because you think that they’re not aligned match.

    Just to give a more clear, direct example to continue on the thread that I was talking about before, I’ll just use one from my personal journey where there were so many years of my dating history where I did maintain that narrative that male emotionality was wrong or weak or disgusting or just wasn’t allowed like, “Here are emotions that my gender just are not allowed to display,” if they want to maintain any romantic relationships long term which of course is absolute BS.

    Being Comfortable With Honesty

    Jordan: But that would be something that I would name in my early dates.

    I wasn’t at all opposed on a first or second date, that again, there was any sense of, “Okay, I’m pretty sure this is going well and I’m liking where it’s going and I like everything I’m finding out about this person. I would just directly ask, “How do you feel about it when men cry?” and just let it be there and just get their honest response.

    Generally, by the time that I was comfortable enough to be asking this, that was when I was already starting to be on dates with, for me, women who were accepting and loving of these traits.

    Whereas years prior, when I wasn’t yet comfortable enough to ask the question if I had just like tried to hotwire the connection and asked it prematurely, I likely would have been on dates with women who would have been like, “No, I agree with the deepest beliefs of your self-judgment.

    I think that it is wrong and disgusting. How dare you to even bring this up on a first date? How wrong is that?” I think by the time you feel even tentatively, timidly ready to name the thing, you’re more likely than not, either on a date or soon to be on a date with someone, who will say, as that man said, “Where do I sign up?”

    Ken: That’s amazing and really true. I do just want to say like a yoga teacher who says, “Folks, if you need to modify, you can.” Jordan’s an athlete of authenticity. He climbs mountains. He scales cliff edges. He loves authenticity.

    Baby Steps Towards Authentic Intimacy

    Tiptoe Baby Steps Towards Authentic Intimacy
    Photographer: Maxwell Nelson | Source: Unsplash

    Ken: If what he said feels like an aspiration, but you’re not quite there yet, notch it down as little as you can, but as much as you need to to make it work for you. If it’s progress and a step in that direction for you, three cheers because you will notice a difference.

    Jordan: Absolutely, self-compassion, and kindness and gentleness with your process is imperative at every step of the dating process.

    For someone who might hear what I’m saying and be intimidated by, “Oh, that’s like really direct and more than I could ever even imagine myself doing in three lifetimes,” just to give a bit of behind-the-scenes insight as to how I relate to that process, so maybe you can take some tiptoe baby steps towards being the mountain climbing athlete of authenticity.

    For me, I just so value my time and energy and heart and the time and energy of others that it doesn’t do anyone any favors to kick the ball down the field for months of dating with someone where there is the very flimsy potential of romantic connection.

    I would rather just go, “Okay, here is one of the small handful of things that I’m in touch with that I know, deeply matters to me. If we’re not a values fit, that doesn’t mean that you’re wrong. That doesn’t mean that I’m wrong.

    It doesn’t mean that either one of us isn’t enough or that anyone is being rejected wholesale. We’re just seeing if we have an aligned vision for our lives. That’s it. It doesn’t mean anything about us. We’re just checking in and going, ‘Does this work for the highest and best direction of both of our hearts?’”

    A Positive Shift of Intentions

    Ken: Doing that, going into a date, knowing that whatever those qualities are, that are so central, these core gift places, that your goal and your intention is to share that, reveal it, and only be with somebody who really appreciates that. When that becomes your intention, there’s an amazing side effect is that your fear of rejection diminishes. It actually really does.

    This is wonderful and it’s concrete and it’s scary and it’s gorgeous. I love it. Now, I’m going to move on to, okay, so you’ve had a few dates, you’re feeling turned on to this person. You’re feeling a sexual energy. You’re like, “I like this. I like him. I like her. I’m interested,” but there you are on a screen.

    How do you bring that in? Any thoughts in that early stage dating where you’re interested? This is a really interesting point because I think we have fears that if we go too far, too fast, it’s going to be like every other time we did online dating and went too far, too fast, and ended up disappointed. I think we’re careful about that.

    Then, I also think that we might feel like, “I need to hold this part of me until I actually meet this person and see who they are and what they what I think of them, and then also, it’s a little awkward to bring this sexual romantic stuff up on a virtual date in a way that it might not be so much at a lovely restaurant together.” Give us some guidance on authenticity as Eros enters the picture.

    A Guide Towards Authentic Intimacy

    Jordan: Absolutely, yes and one point I want to double down on there is both of those pathways are 100% valid. I think that there is validity for some people in following their energy and if there is a mutual sense of trust and alignment and real relationship potential and you want to move more towards the erotic in your relating, then amazing.

    Make sure you do it with someone you trust and talk through it in a consent-based way and like, “What are we to us? What are each of us excited to move towards in this process and if there is a sense of all those things are still true, that there’s a lot of passion and intensity and also grounded-ness and potential here?”

    I don’t yet want to cross that bridge of bringing sexual charge into a relationship in a video set or video chat sex kind of way and I want to just let this simmer until we’re able to meet face to face even if it’s months from now, that is also fine and you are not slow or rigid or prudish or any outdated words that people might use in the back of their psyche to make themselves wrong. I think both those things can absolutely be appropriate for different relational contexts.

    Ken: Let’s say you do the latter and you’re saying, “I’m not really wanting to like go and have like video sex before we actually meet in person,” but yet, it’s also not authentic to just pretend the Eros isn’t there and the turn-on is a beautiful sweet thing and that’s like part of romance and you don’t want to lose that and go flat. What do you do?

    The Early Dating Version of Orgasm Denial

    Jordan: Speaking in this current worldwide climate, I think there are both virtual and in-person, depending on the city, state, province, country, continent to the person who’s listening to this is coming from, you could go and have a socially distanced, two-meters away or six-feet away walk in nature together just to experience each other in the flesh at all.

    Ken: Good point.

    Jordan: And even that guarantee of, “Okay, we get to experience each other’s energy face to face and we’re not allowed to touch each other yet,” like that’s its own kind of erotic charge.

    Ken: It is.

    Jordan: It’s almost the early dating version of orgasm denial for BDSM lovers, like you’re right there. It’s been confirmed that “Yes, I’m even more attracted to you now and I’m not allowed to touch your flesh,” that’s almost like the Romeo and Juliet charge of the forbidden thing. Again, staying within your jurisdictions, legalities.

    Going back to the online video chat sex examples, I think that especially in early dating, really making sure that you’re doing it with someone you trust because there is the added layer of this person could take screen grabs or store some of this data if they wanted to.

    Just really making sure that this person, there’s real potential and they don’t remind you, they’re not a carbon copy of your last three abusive partners like, “No, this person really does feel safe and soft and grounded and aware of me and compassionate and kind.”

    An Externalized Conversation on a Best Case Scenario

    An Externalized Conversation On a Best Case Scenario
    Photographer: Cody Engel | Source: Unsplash

    Jordan: Again, the same rules apply to the type of people that you would be physically intimate with in-person should be as relevant for you know, if not more relevant, to this medium and to build up the sexual tension, the sexual simmer.

    I think that having a externalized conversation around what a best-case scenario would look like for both of you, one thing that you would want to do, and once you get a clear picture of, “Okay, here’s what I’m into and looking for. Here’s what you’re into and looking for,” then you can sext around those themes in the lead up to build up the tension.”

    Just as you would for a first time and hopefully, it depends on the individual listening to this, but just as you would in leading up to a first sexual encounter with someone, you want to put some effort into your appearance. You want to be as you would.

    You want to be discovered naked for the first time with this person. Unless you’ve got a sweatshirt and sweatpants fetish, dressing up as you would for any date, I think, is appropriate when you have the dedicated explicit sexual meetup.

    Ken: Wonderful, wonderful. I just want to interject here that what you said first, Jordan, was again, injecting a radical authenticity into preparing for having sex together virtually, and instead of this assumption that we all kind of struggle with is that if we’re really sexually skilled and really gifted, we will just make the other person happy, but maybe the other person is thinking of something completely different than we are. Maybe their sexual and erotic language is really different.

    Injecting Authentic Intimacy That Makes a Difference

    Ken: The act of saying, “How would you like to lead up to this? How would you like to do this? What do you envision? What feels safe?” is again injecting this radical authenticity that’s going to make a really big difference.

    Jordan: 100%. I’m a huge fan of eradicating mindreading from relationships and sex lives. That can come in the form of, really, as you alluded to, really getting in touch with your sexual partners erotic blueprint, what types of things really turn them on, what they love the most, what things are no go zones, what turns them off quite rapidly.

    The same thing in early-stage or long-term relationships around if you can have very clear direct conversations of around, “Here are the cheat codes for arousing me or for loving me the most fully.

    While anticipating people’s needs and trying to have some educated guesses sprinkled in as nice surprises to show your thoughtfulness and compassion and care for your partner are important, I think that really just allowing ourselves to name directly and have our partners name to us, “Here’s exactly how to win with me in our relationships and in our sex lives,” I think is actually infinitely hotter.

    Because you’re actually giving them targeted, calibrated, thoughtful gifts instead of just, “Okay, here we are both just groping in the dark and trying to figure it out as we go.”

    That kind of intentionality for me is the ultimate in loving someone. Love someone as they want themselves to be loved and the same thing applies to our sex lives.

    A Vision of a More Authentic Life

    Ken: Wonderful. That’s so exciting. I really feel like you’re giving us a vision of a braver, more intimate, more authentic, more evolved life.

    Jordan: That’s my aim.

    Ken: Yes, just another thought on this like homework that we can do in a sexual relationship is to think, “What makes me feel really safe. What moves me deeply in sex? What also really gets me hot and really excites me?”

    They’re connected questions, but they’re different questions and that act of first recognizing for ourselves what those things are and then speaking about them is just a beautiful process of evolution.

    Jordan: Absolutely. In case there is anyone listening to this and hearing all the talk of safety and warmth and consent as, “Oh, this is just tepid, lukewarm. There’s no way this sex could ever be hot or fun or adventurous in the slightest because we’re killing it with communication.” I would counter that and say that safety is merely the foundation. You’re allowed to have the contextual sense of risk or novelty or adventure in that safe container.

    Ken: Beautiful.

    Jordan: It’s not that when you’re with a partner you’ve been with for months or years, you have to ask for explicit consent before you go to hold their hand.

    We’re not saying take this to the nth degree, just that especially in the context of early dating and the new relationship where there’s potential, that I think that are overly communicating so that you can both surrender and drop into it that much more is imperative upfront.

    The Most Significant Front-Of-Mind Theme

    The Most Significant Front-of-Mind Theme
    Photographer: Rashtravardhan Kataria | Source: Unsplash

    Ken: This is wonderful. This is great. Jordan, I would like to give you some time as we move toward closing just to preach, just to say whatever it is that you want to say, whatever feels important to you, whatever you want to share, based on everything we’ve talked about. I’d like to just give you some time to do that.

    Jordan: I think the most significant front-of-mind theme for me right now is really just allowing yourself to have the deepest, most fulfilling, most nourishing love relationship of your dreams.

    I think that it is very easy to get caught up, especially in our North American culture of this kind of hyper-individualistic, be all that you can be, “I don’t need no man” culture that says, “You are a successful adequate human when you are contributing to the GDP and you need people as little as possible and you’re just this autonomous island of a person.”

    I think that we’ve really veered off of that path of allowing ourselves to even admit or acknowledge that we are a social species and we need each other to thrive and the breakdown of greater community is I think one of the greatest travesties over the last 100 years of human history and “you are allowed to want” relationship.

    I think that a message a lot of people need to hear is the amount of intimacy, connection, physical touch that you know that you deeply want and crave is not a failing. It is not a bug in your software. It is the most intelligent and correct part of you.

    How to Connect With Jordan Gray

    Jordan: You’re allowed to just be a soft-bodied human mammal and have social connecting needs. It is not incorrect. It is the most correct.

    Ken: So beautiful, so beautiful. Jordan, thank you so much. What a joy to have you on.

    Jordan: Thank you so much, Ken. I appreciate you having me on. This is fun.

    Ken: I’d like you to tell people, I think a lot of people are intrigued and interested and inspired – by your vision, by how you talk, how you think and what you teach. Could you tell people more about how they could learn about you, get in touch with you, take part in your projects, etcetera?

    Jordan: Absolutely, the main hub where everything branches off from is my website, jordangrayconsulting.com. There’s one-on-one coaching. There are video courses for men and women. There are over 500 free blog articles, there’s a lot of resources and my books that can be found on that website.

    Ken: That’s Jordan Gray. Could you spell that for us?

    Jordan: Sure. J-O-R-D-A-N-G-R-A-Y, consulting.com.

    Ken: Beautiful. Thank you. Any last closing words that you have for this community of listeners, Jordan?

    Final Words on Authentic Intimacy

    Jordan: Date courageously. Be honest about the deepest truths of who you are and deploy patience in finding your lifelong love. The wait is worth it.

    Ken: So beautiful. It’s a joy to have you on. I feel inspired toward greater athleticism in my own authenticity, very inspired. Thank you so much for that. Thank you, everyone, for listening. You can find a complete transcript of this episode at deeperdatingpodcast.com. You can also join my mailing list there. Thank you, Jordan, once again.

    Jordan: Thank you, Ken. I appreciate it.

    Ken: Thank you, everyone, for listening and I’ll see you next week on the next Deeper Dating Podcast.

  • How To Shift Your Field To Attract More Intimacy [EP072]

    There’s a powerful and easy-to-use way to shift your “field” to attract more intimacy–and I’ll teach it to you in this episode. This one process will help draw people who are right for you–and help you spot the people who aren’t. Moreover, it will help you notice the small and large invitations to love in your day-to-day life. Hop in to learn more!

    Table of Contents

    Episode Introduction: Attract More Intimacy

    Attract More Intimacy

    There’s a simple but powerful shift that you can do that will make you more available to intimacy, almost immediately. Stay tuned to this episode of The Deeper Dating Podcast to learn this practice.

    Hello everybody and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m your host Ken Page, I’m a psychotherapist and the author of the book Deeper Dating. And today I’m going to teach you a simple practice you can do that will almost immediately invite more intimacy into your life.

    This week and every week I’m going to share with you the greatest tools I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing. And heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of intimacy. And if you want to learn more about the Deeper Dating approach to intimacy, just go to deeperdatingpodcast.com, and there you’ll find a transcript of this episode.

    And if you join my mailing list, you’ll get free gifts and the opportunity to learn so much more about this authenticity based approach to finding love. I also want to say that everything that I talk about in this podcast is educational in nature, it’s not medical or psychiatric advice.

    Subscribe and Leave Ken a Review

    Subscribe and Leave Ken a Review
    Leave Ken a Review

    Finally, I just want to say that if you subscribe, leave me a review, share your thoughts and feelings or go to the website and just click on ask Ken and leave me a question. All of those are ways to interact and to support this podcast. So let’s jump in.

    In our lives, we have experience after experience – ways that we relate things that we see, things that we smell, things that we taste, interactions that we have, feelings that we have, physiological experiences and those are our experiences. But then there’s an overlay that follows those experiences and that overlay is the way we understand or ascribe meaning to that event.

    That overlay hugely depends on the state of mind that we’re in. So if we’re in a stressed-out kind of state and something happens that is a little bit awkward or maybe we have some trauma around this, we interpret that event in a way that maybe scares us or gives us some dread or some concern.

    If we’re really busy and really rushed, there are a million things that we miss because we’re just focusing on whatever it is that we have to get done. Or it may be that something we ascribe an erotic quality to it or we ascribe a feeling of love to it or it evokes a memory.

    And there’s this kind of process that happens of experience and then overlay. That overlay determines kind of how we view life and interpret life and understand life. By shifting our state of mind, we shift the overlay that we put on the events in our lives and God knows that includes the events that happen in our relationships.

    How to Attract More Intimacy

    How to Attract More Intimacy
    Photographer: Aaron Kato | Source: Unsplash

    So in this episode I’m going to offer you a practice that will help you make a shift so that you are in what I call the gift zone. And in that zone you interpret things in a way that invites intimacy, and leads to intimacy. Intimacy with yourself, spiritual intimacy, intimacy with others, intimacy with the world.

    When we’re in that state, the state that I call the gift zone, we invite intimacy. It’s a very alive and very kind of raw and true and beautiful state that most of us, unless we’re really upset, unless we’re really anxious, unless we’re really stressed, it’s not that hard to drop into that space. And when we do, we see the world differently.

    So what is this gift zone and how can we get there? I’ll just share a story. Someone who was in one of my intensive courses doing this work, learning how to go into the gift zone, how to lead with and acknowledge her core gifts.

    She said, “This dating thing is more like a living thing. I’m living as a soul, skin to skin, soul to soul with the world and it’s so different and so promising.” And that did lead her, at least in part, all the things that she was doing led her to a wonderful relationship.

    Setting the Stage for Success

    I’m not saying that the minute that you do this, you’ll instantly be in a wonderful relationship. You can’t make that promise, life unfolds in its own way but I can pretty much promise that the more you live in your gift zone, the more you will invite love, the more you will have access to creativity, the more you will be permeable to the winds of inspiration that are moving through your life.

    Here’s what I would like you to do to kind of help set the stage for this process. I’d like you to imagine a target and if you’ve been in any of my courses or read my book you know about this concept but follow with me anyway because you’re going to get to have an experience with it in this episode.

    So picture a target, really simple target and picture that the center of the target is the beating heart of your humanity. It’s the place where you are living kind of purely from your heart and from your experience. It doesn’t mean it’s always happy and pretty in pink and joyful. No, it could be sad, it could be poignant, it could be aching, but it’s alive and it’s you at the moment.

    It’s the truth of who you are. It’s the beating heart of your humanity. And the closer we get to the beating heart of our humanity at any given moment, the closer we are to insight, to potential inspiration, unequivocally to transformation and to kind of our personal evolution, to finding the language of our own experience in the world and to intimacy, to love, including our longing for love.

    Living in the Heart of Our Humanity Attracts More Intimacy

    So it’s not easy to live in the beating heart of our humanity. It’s glorious and it radiates. The more skilled we become at living there, the more beautiful we become, the more our absolute being becomes an invitation to intimacy. And really things happen when we do that.

    I say that our field changes and it really does. So we want to live there, in the heart of our gift zone, the beating heart of our humanity. It’s this kind of thing that we’ve heard again and again. In dating, it’s kind of the grandmother who would say this, “Honey, just be yourself. Just be yourself.”

    And that’s sweet and it’s really essentially true but “just be yourself” is not just. Our self is big, our self is mysterious, our self has a language of experience and meaning that is vast and incredible. Just be yourself is no just at all. It takes a lot of work, and a lot of grace and a lot of care, and a lot of learning, but it’s the place to live.

    So, that’s what we want to do. We want to be able to live in our gift zone and I’m going to teach a practice for that but I’m going to finish explaining the target first.

    So then as you move out from that bull’s-eye place, as you move out further along the target, you enter into the land of your protections, the land of numbness, the land of your defenses. So the first zone outside of that, we could say that next band on the target, a big band is the zone of protection.

    The Place of Profound Loneliness Does Not Attract More Intimacy

    The Place of Profound Loneliness Does Not Attract More Intimacy
    Photographer: Kristina Tripkovic | Source: Unsplash

    When we’re at the bullseye of self, which is hard to live in and hard to bear, we’re right at the core of our truth. The further out we move in that round space, that first inner circle, the closer we are toward the state of protection, the more we’re defended and in the state of protection in its kind of lighter forms, we’re avoiding things, we’re watching TV, we’re getting lost in our phone.

    We’re numbing ourselves in different ways, we’re kind of doing things not to be in the beating heart of our immediate humanity. The further out we get, the more defended and protected we are. So just picture this target that the further out you get from the core of your being, the more you’re defensive and the further out you get, the more you will be brittle, the more you will feel that your defenses are necessary for your survival.

    They become our armor that we live by and live through and live in, and they become a habit. The further out you get when you get out to the end of the zone of protection, then you enter into the zone of disconnection and that’s the place where it’s so empty, it’s dark, it hurts.

    This is a place of addiction, this is a place of really profound loneliness. It’s a hard place to be. It’s a place where we are so isolated from the warmth that lives in the center of our being, that our very existence hurts because we’re not connected to it.

    Shifting Your State of Mind Leads You to a Place Where You Attract More Intimacy

    So all of us have lived in all parts of this target, but the goal and the journey is drop by homeopathic drop to move closer to the gift zone. And by living in the gift zone, you shift your state of mind to a place where you attract more intimacy, where you radiate more intimacy, where you radiate more authenticity.

    So you’re actually radiating messages of who you truly and authentically are. So, that people who are looking for someone, like who you truly and authentically are, will recognize you, will see you, will hear you, will pick that up because our romantic sensors are incredibly, incredibly, exquisitely refined.

    And when you’re in that zone, that’s where the magic, the depth of inner experience, the richness, the sense of expansion, the fullness, the tenderness, that’s when these beautiful, beautiful experiences blossom. When we follow those experiences, they blossom inside us and they lead us into a fuller sense of self and a fuller expression.

    But they also lead us to more risk because of course there is a risk, an existential risk with being real. There are lots of risks. There’s the risk of being real and what the repercussions of that are going to be.

    There’s the risk of people being hurt. There’s the risk of people being intimidated. There’s the risk of people being jealous. There’s the risk of rejection. And then there’s the risk of the feelings of power and expansion that might trigger feelings of guilt or shame or I don’t deserve this or I don’t know how to handle this.

    The Risk of Living in the Zone of Authenticity

    There’s the risk of feeling the sadness, the grieving, the trauma, the different human experiences that live in this zone of authenticity.

    But when you’re in your gift zone, you feel your core essential gifts. You attract intimacy and you invite intimacy. And your overlay of the experiences that you have in your day to day life when you’re in your gift zone becomes an overlay of noticing love and noticing the invitations to love in your life.

    So this is where I’m going to teach a process now what I call the intimacy fix. And it is really simple process, it’s a self-regulating, self inspiring, self-determined process. And here’s what it is. What you do is you just imagine this target, you just notice where you are. You just think, well, where am I now in this target?

    Let’s say it’s a kind of just a general day to day moment and you think, well, I don’t know, I’m nowhere, I’m not noticing this target. I’m not noticing my feelings. You drop down a little bit more and you say, “Oh, oh, oh, actually I’m kind of on the edge of some feelings here, a peaceful feeling or a sad feeling.”

    And then you recognize how much you are in touch with the beating heart of your humanity and you try to hold that space with compassion. The minute you can feel your humanity and hold it with the feeling of compassion, you are in magic land, in some way, and you are affecting the shape of your future just by living that way, just by being that way. That’s the magic of your being.

    Your Magic Leads You to Attract More Intimacy

    Your Magic Leads You to Attract More Intimacy
    Photographer: Aron Visuals | Source: Unsplash

    That’s your magic and it’s real and it’s true and it leads to love and it invites love. Or maybe you’re with someone you care about and you’re pissed off, or you’re irritated, or you’re stressed, or you’re just disconnected, and you say, “Wow, well, I’m pissed off. I’m irritated. This person who I love, I’m not feeling the love at this point.

    I’m just feeling annoyed, I’m feeling denigrating of them, I’m feeling denigrating of myself. I just feel like shit.” And then you notice that and you feel the pain. You feel whatever it is that you are. And then you think, “what can I do at this moment to move more into my gift zone?”

    So if I’m in pain about something that’s going on and I don’t take care of myself, I’m not going to enter into my gift zone. If I’m in pain and I don’t do something to create healing or communication, I won’t move more into my gift zone. Here’s a tiny segue. This is something I tell people all the time.

    If you’re stuck in a bad place, in a relational situation or even not in a relational situation, in any kind of situation, if you’re stuck in a bad place and you decide that you want to try to get out of it yourself,try – try once, try twice, and then kind of give up and instead ask for help from someone you trust. The results will be so much more dramatically quick and effective because we can’t lift ourselves up by our bootstraps, we come down immediately.

    The Weakest Tool in the Box

    But we keep thinking, “Oh my gosh, I can figure this out by willpower,” but willpower is one of the weakest tools in the box. So when we’re in pain, reaching out for help, talking about our pain, expressing what our need is with a safe person is a glorious, glorious way to move into our gift zone with that person.

    That’s an act of bravery. Here’s another example, you’re walking down the street thinking of whatever and you’re not in your gift zone, you’re not in a bad place, you’re just walking down the street and you think, let me go into my gift zone, let me just move just a little bit more toward the center of that target. Can I do that?

    Can I just shift a little bit to stand more in the center of the target? So then you do that, you make that shift, you begin to feel your humanity. Maybe you feel sad. Maybe you realize something is worrying you. Maybe all of a sudden you can look up and say, it’s a beautiful day and I wasn’t even noticing it.

    All of those experiences are fine and often when we are about to move into our gift zone, when we’re about to do this conscious practice of moving into our amazing, awesome gift zone, there’s a ring of fire we go through. Maybe it’s shame. For me, it’s sadness. When I’m out of my gift zone, it’s often because I don’t want to feel certain sadnesses that is in my heart.

    Moving Closer to Your Humanity Will Attract More Intimacy

    So when I’m stepping into my gifts zone, often there’s going to be sadness, there will be anxiety because those are things that I experience, of things that are not taken care of, that are not done and I can get lost in those. Or I could say, these are the things that I feel on the way to the gift zone, on the way to the beating heart of my humanity.

    And then I say, “Oh yeah, that sadness. I know that is sadness.” It’s a part of who I am. When I hold the sadness in that way, I’m in my gift zone. When I hold my anxiety in that way, with that little bit of more spaciousness, more compassion, and more acceptance, there’s more breathing room, that’s a gift zone space of handling a problem.

    So, there I am walking down the street and I do this shift and I just think, “how can I move a little bit more into my humanity?” Now if you’re stressed, you might not be able to do this or if you’re seriously anxious or depressed or worried. But the other times you probably will be able to do it. And why not, let’s try it right now. Just take a minute and just think, “where am I on this target?”

    And if you’re anywhere near the beating heart of your humanity, celebrate, enjoy that, feel the glow, feel the warmth. Don’t even worry about it, just allow yourself the pleasure of that experience. Shoulder to shoulder, just shoulders touching with that gift zone place, with that intimacy with self, that’s enough, that’s all you need.

    Scooching Closer to Your Being

    Scooching Closer to Your Being Will Attract More Intimacy
    Photographer: Sandy Millar | Source: Unsplash

    If you’re not feeling that, ask yourself, how could I kind of scooch over a little bit closer to the heart of my being? Maybe it’s an action, maybe you need a walk, maybe you need a nap, maybe it’s time to read, maybe it’s time for something else.

    But you can ask yourself this question and every time you make the conscious shift to go into your gift zone, you’re living love and you are inviting love. And this is the other thing, it feels like an inside thing, but it affects your field, it affects the things that happen.

    When you live that way, there is an effulgence, there’s some kind of radiating of something that I don’t know how it works, but it does draw love. Also, you are at your most beautiful at those times. There’s a way that you are lit from within, even in sadness when you’re in your gift zone.

    Conclusion

    So this is a beautiful practice that you could do at any time you want and it will make you more beautiful. It will make you radiate the beauty of your being more. It will affect the amount of love in your life because the overlay that you’ll be adding to your experiences will be an overlay that invites and appreciates and notices love that much more.

    So I hope you enjoyed this exercise. You can go to Deeper Dating Podcast and click on ask Ken at the top and just share your experiences so that I could share them as well with this community. Enjoy this process, it’s gorgeous, it’s you and it’s fun. So, I look forward to seeing you on the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.

  • When To Have Sex In Early Dating [EP071]

    Sex in early dating: When is too soon? When is too long? (And is there really a “too soon” and “too long?”) In this episode we’ll look at the signs that it’s not the right time to have sex–and signs that it is the right time. We’ll explore the three essential ingredients to cultivate a soulful, erotically wonderful, emotionally safe connection with someone we’re dating.

    Table of Contents

    Episode Introduction: Early Dating

    Early Dating
    Early Dating

    When should you start having sex in early dating? When is too early? When have you waited too long and lost an opportunity for erotic connection? Stay tuned to this episode of the Deeper Dating podcast to learn more.

    Hello everybody and welcome to the Deeper Dating podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist, the author of the book Deeper Dating and the host of this podcast. And today, we’re going to be talking about sex in early dating.

    Every week, I’m going to share with you the greatest tools that I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love. And the skills of love are the greatest skills of all for a happy and rich and meaningful life.

    And if you want to learn more about the deeper dating path to real intimacy, just go to DeeperDatingpodcast.com. And if you sign up for my mailing list you’ll get free gifts and you’ll learn a lot about the ideas that I teach and learn a lot about other resources that I really believe in. You’ll also find complete transcripts of this and every other episode.

    Subscribe and Leave Ken a Review

    Subscribe and Leave Ken a Review
    Leave Ken a Review

    I also want to say everything in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice. And finally, if you like what you’re learning here it would be a wonderful thank you if you could subscribe and leave a review or a comment. So thank you so much to everyone who’s done that already.

    So let’s jump in. We are going to talk about sex today. I want to talk about something that I think is so important for so many daters which is, “what’s too early to have sex?” What’s waiting too long to have sex? And how do I know what the right time is to have sex in early dating?

    So I come from the gay men’s party culture. I came up in like the 80’s and the 90’s and sex was just what you had as quick as you could. And then that was fun and then you would look for a relationship out of that. For some people that worked really well. For me, it worked horribly.

    Yes, I had a lot of sex and a lot of that sex was really fun but there was an emptiness and loneliness in that whole period for me because it just wasn’t the way I was really built to operate. So by the time I met my husband I had learned a lot and he teases me to this day about how long we had to wait to really have sex.

    So to deny your Eros, to not let it grow and develop is not a good thing and that holds back the vulnerability that happens when you show and express sexual interest to somebody.

    Instances When Having Sex in Early Dating Ruins the Chance of a Relationship

    Instances When Early Dating Sex Ruins the Chance of a Relationship
    Photographer: Raph Howald | Source: Unsplash

    It’s a very, very beautiful thing when that’s mutual. But to have sex too quickly often ruins the chance of a relationship, and why? So many different reasons. One reason is that sex without enough intimacy is like miracle grow for our fear of intimacy.

    If you have sex before you feel really emotionally safe, if you have sex before there’s a sense of deep intimacy with someone or growing intimacy with them, the chances are great that after that sex you’re either going to want to leave, stay away, go back to the thrill of the hunt or you’ll get needy and you’ll get clingy and you’ll start imagining and projecting a kind of deeper love that it may not be time for, or that may not even be right in this relationship.

    Now, can it happen that early-on sex can be great and then a relationship could begin? Absolutely, and all of us are built differently and all of us have to think about this for ourselves. But I want to share some thoughts about when I think it’s really not so good to have sex yet.

    But just to say first, the context that I’m speaking about this in is not recreational sex. The context I’m speaking about this in is the context of someone who really would like a real soulful, healthy, connected relationship. And if that’s your goal, then I think these ideas will apply to you more fully.

    Here are some times that I think in early dating it’s best not to jump into sex. Early dating – don’t have sex when you’re high, don’t have sex when you’re intoxicated.

    When the Connection Is Not Ripe

    Because especially in early dating, if you do, there’s a sense of discrimination that you lose. There’s a way that you miss the subtleties of what feels right and what doesn’t feel right. Often that’s why we get intoxicated because we don’t want to feel the ways in which a connection doesn’t feel right yet, isn’t ripe yet, hasn’t grown enough yet.

    Our fears and our insecurities are still big because this person is still a stranger to us and so we get high, we drink to kind of get over that and it works. We do get over that but we lose so much discrimination in the process. So I do recommend that early on in a relationship it is best not to be intoxicated before making the decision of whether or not you’re going to have sex.

    Don’t have sex if you don’t feel safe with the person and safe is completely subjective. It’s how you feel inside. Even if you tell yourself your reasons for not feeling safe are silly or not valid, if you don’t feel safe, don’t jump into sex.

    Now with a really wonderful person, if you don’t feel safe you might be able to share with them why you don’t feel safe or what you need instead. So many people early on just say, “I want to start out by being held. I want to start out by just making out. Let’s keep our tops on. Let’s keep our bottoms on.”

    A Huge Early Dating Red Flag

    Whatever it is for you that will help you feel safe and again it’s completely subjective and no matter what it is it’s valid. Because if you don’t feel safe and you jump into sex early in a relationship it’s going to bite you in the butt. It’s somehow going to hurt.

    It’s going to hurt the relationship, it’s going to hurt you, it’s going to hurt your self-esteem. The feeling of safety must, must, must be honored. Another thing that goes with that is, don’t have early sex because you feel pressured. In fact, if the person you’re with is pressuring you to have sex before you are ready, that is a huge red flag. A huge red flag.

    It is not a good sign. If you let the person know that you’re not ready and they can’t honor that, that’s a major red flag and a good, good, good chance that that’s someone to stay away from.

    So this is really a big one. You want to watch for the tendency to have sex because you’re trying to make the person more into you.

    You know that you’re really good in bed and they’re going to like you more so it would be a good idea to have sex. Or you know that it might make them want you more. Or maybe you somehow are kind of clicking their sense of desire in such a way that you’re going to get them more into you.

    These are not good ideas. Those are in fact the opposite of self-love when we do that.

    Don’t Jump Into Sex During Early Dating When You Don’t Feel Safe

    Don’t Jump Into Early Dating Sex When You Don’t Feel Safe
    Photographer: Kristopher Roller | Source: Unsplash

    And another one that connects with all of this is that if the person you’re with is pressuring you or wants you to have sex that doesn’t feel safe to you, because of COVID times, because of STDs, because of whatever, if you don’t feel safe in the way the sex is being had, that must be honored.

    Again, if the person you’re with can’t honor that, major problem right off the bat, it’s really, really true. Eyes wide open. The other thing here is that sex is a spectrum.

    Sex is not just obviously intercourse. There’s so much in the realm of sex.

    There could be holding hands. I remember speaking to someone who had come from a history of sex addiction. This person said to me that he was in recovery and he said to me that he was dating somebody and he said, “We held hands in the movies.” And he said, “When I think of all the sex I had, the feeling I had just holding hands was like a gourmet meal and all of the other stuff, no matter how wild and crazy and whatever it was, was like McDonald’s. Just holding hands was so sexually gorgeous.”

    And I remember someone else talking about being with his wife and they were shopping for kitchen appliances together and there was such a sense of love at that moment between the two of them that he said this was sex, shopping for kitchen appliances together was sex. “I was so aroused. It was so suffused with turn-on because we were so beautiful together.” So there are so many kinds of sex.

    Deeper Turn-On of Intimate Moments in Early Dating

    And in early relating, if you can have the kind of sexual connection which involves holding hands, which involves touching, which involves expressing what turns you on or what you’ll want to do in the future, if you allow yourself to get into that deeper turn-on of intimate moments, you can have the richest sexual relationship pre-intercourse.

    This is a wonderful, wonderful way to nourish and grow the tendrils of erotic desire with someone you really like. Another way is fantasy. Let’s say you’re not up to the point yet where you’re going to have full-on sex. How rich it is to just fantasize, to sexually fantasize, about the parts of their body you like or love or imagine or picture or what you would like to do with them or what you would like to do with those parts or what you would like them to do with you.

    These kinds of rich, rich building of this suffusion of Eros is a glorious, glorious way to build a connection. And as we know, when we’ve got that erotic richness combined with the sense of the goodness of the connection and the goodness of the other human being, that is ecstasy. That is joy. That is the only place we want to be if we’re really looking for a truly healthy, romantic relationship.

    Here’s another really interesting thing is that sometimes a relationship begins and it becomes sexual, it’s really good, it’s fine, and then all of a sudden you feel yourself falling in love in a deeper way. Where you feel the two of you having that happen.

    Falling in Love in a Deeper Way

    And all of a sudden you don’t want to have sex any more and you wonder what is wrong with me? What happened? Is this like this total fear of intimacy thing? And this is something I’ve seen happen to a lot of people and this happened to me too.

    Well, what it is, I think, is that there’s dropping down into a deeper level of connection and the psyche has to re-calibrate to the vulnerability, to that rewiring where love and connection meet eros in a deeper way and there’s a pocket of needing to wait or needing to stop.

    So if you find that at a point when you’re falling in love in a deeper way and there’s this pocket where it feels eros disappears, honor that.

    Go with it, give it space, but watch because little by little you will see and feel the tendrils of eros growing newer and stronger and fresher and differently than they had before. And these are the things that we want to have happen.

    Hollywood and porn and so much literature teaches us that real love begins with this giant boom and stays that way and if it’s anything less, A – we have intimacy problems or , B – the person is not right for us.

    But sex is so deep and love is so deep and so profound that we can’t really get our arms around it and it’s going to surprise us. And the ways that it surprises us are part of the mystery of our own love life.

    The Madonna-Whore Complex

    Why all of a sudden am I feeling all of this? Why all of a sudden have I stopped feeling all of this? Why all of a sudden have my feelings changed? Why are they evolving in the ways that they are?

    And that’s where we need to listen for our own heart language, our own sexual language because sex, like love, like life, like creativity is so much richer, so much deeper, so much more original, so much more tender, so much more wild than we give it credit for.

    Sigmund Freud coined the phrase Madonna-whore complex. He described this painful but familiar kind of state where sex and intimacy, deep sex, and deep intimacy cannot coexist. Lustful, lustful, wild, horny sex and spiritual, emotional intimacy can’t coexist.

    This is how he said it, of course, speaking about only men, “Where such men love, they have no desire and where they desire, they cannot love.” And what I wrote in my book, Deeper Dating, is in relation to both the word Madonna and the word whore, my response is the same. You say that like it’s a bad thing. Well, it’s not.

    So as we grow in a healthy new relationship, we feel both of those things. We feel wild and horny and dirty, in the most dirty, I mean in a great sexual way, in really wonderful ways.

    We also feel a soulful connection, a space that is above just sex, above just horniness. It’s spiritual. It’s deep. And the two together are the most amazing thing. But we do need to give that time for those circuitries to grow.

    Three Questions to Ask Before Engaging in Sex While on Early Dating

    Three Questions To Ask Before Engaging In Early Dating Sex
    Photographer: Jules Bss | Source: Unsplash

    We do that by not having sex too quick, but by cultivating the beauty of the sexual connection and the emotional connection. Because you could be having sex with someone and it could be really good and really hot and exciting but then you look into their eyes and if you feel love and they feel love and you see that, it completely changes the experience.

    It completely up levels it. And maybe you feel like you would have been fine just doing it the other way but then you experience this and you say, “Oh my God, this is what I was looking for.” And there’s a feeling of safety and a home in that kind of sex that is combined with excitement and turn on that is just, as I said, so amazing.

    So three questions that we can ask ourselves as our sexual relationship with someone begins and in a future episode I’m going to use these ideas to talk about how we can discover our sexual and romantic core gifts. So the questions are these, “Do I feel safe?”, as we talked about huge question? That’s the foundation. That’s the ground of being able to get to these other spaces.

    Because if you don’t feel safe, something has to be adjusted, something has to be fixed, something has to be changed. Or you need not be having sex with that person or you need not be having sex with that person at this time. So safety is again so profoundly important and really want to encourage you to give yourself the space to say, “Do I feel safe?”

    What Moves You in Sex?

    If in a general way you feel safe with someone, the next breakdown of that question is, “What do I feel safe doing right now?” And then that’s what you give yourself the space to do.

    If you’re with someone who allows that and you’re giving that gift of dignity to yourself and then you do whatever that is that feels safe to do and you both do it with full heart, who cares about intercourse?

    Well, I mean everyone to some degree cares about intercourse but in another way it really doesn’t matter. Because there’s such a joy in that state that it’s worth everything.

    So the second one is, “what moves you in sex?” What touches your heart? What makes you feel moved and touched and inspired? What makes you feel love? What makes you feel seen? What makes you feel that somehow the way your partner is being with you and the way that you’re being with your partner allows for access to those deeper states of emotional connectedness?

    And the third question is, “what really turns you on?” And that’s a question that we really have to think about sometimes. And I’m going to describe two different ways that I think there’s work that needs to be done for each of us in our own sexual user’s manual and our own sexual self-discovery. So one is, “what really is exciting to me?” What pacing really is deeply exciting to me? And here we got to leave the realm of what’s expected and what’s normal.

    Assessing When the Pacing Is Too Fast or Too Slow in Early Dating

    You might feel like my pacing is too slow. You might feel like, “Oh, my pacing is too fast and too wild and it’s not appropriate.” but between us and us, we need to acknowledge what really turns us on. It’s an act of bravery and it’s a gift.

    And I want to say that for so many people, there are two things that scare us about what turns us on. One is that what turns us on sexually is too vulnerable, is too tender, is too soft, is too unathletic, too un-pyrotechnical, too simple because of everything we hear about what sex is supposed to look like.

    The other is that what really turns us on is too wild or too kinky or too crazy but it’s an act of beautiful self-discovery to admit these things to ourselves. I’m talking about things that are safe and I’m talking about things that are consensual and I’m talking about things between two adults.

    So given that there are probably whatever your things are that turn you deeply on, there are so many people who would find those things, the cat’s meow and would experience them as a gift.

    My friend David Schecter, who is a playwright and a lyricist said something really wonderful to me once. He said he thinks he has a different understanding of the word perverse.

    He said perverse means per verse like through poetry. Whatever it is that we are most turned on by, be it very tender, very vanilla, very wild, very crazy is a poetry of our being. It’s a language of a deep inner self that gets expressed through our sexuality. And I love that concept of what perverse actually means.

    A Compulsive Relationship With Sexuality

    So one last thought that I want to share is for people who have had a history of some degree of sexual compulsion where they have used sex as a way to get love, they have been in a compulsive relationship with their sexuality, their sexuality has been mixed in with a lot of drinking or a lot of drug use, and I think that’s a big portion of the population who has struggled with something like that, if not the great majority.

    So that adds in another dimension and the dimension is when are we being triggered? It’s like if you think of the image of taking a mound of jello and pouring hot water on it.

    That hot water is going to create a groove in the jello and that groove is going to get deeper and deeper and deeper so that if water is then poured on the jello it’s always going to go down that same canal. That’s what it’s like with our sexual wiring, so there’s rewiring that needs to happen.

    We may feel really turned on, really connected, but it may be compulsion. And we will, through our work on our own growth, either in a recovery program or with other kinds of help and support recognize the times that our sexual expression as right as it may feel is really not so right and is leading us to not such a good place.

    Does this complicate things? Yes, it does. But all of us, like we need to rewire in our intimacy journey, we also need to rewire in better ways in our sex lives, in our sexuality, in our sexual expression. And that’s true in very particular ways in early dating.

    Stay With People Who Can Honor Your Space in Early Dating

    Stay With People Who Can Honor Your Space in Early Dating
    Photographer: Shelby Deeter | Source: Unsplash

    So as you take these ideas and live them in early dating and only, only, only stay with people who can honor them as well and honor the space for that as well.

    As you do that, you will be rewiring, rewiring in such a way that your healthiest self, your hottest, most erotic self, and your most deeply loving self will all be able to rejoin together and that’s really what we want.

    So thanks so much for listening to this episode. And you can get a transcript and join my mailing list by going to DeeperDatingpodcast.com and I’d love to have you as part of this learning community for this and all of the other projects that I’m working on. So thank you so much and I’ll see you on the next episode of the Deeper Dating podcast.

  • One Thousand And One Tales of Dating: Yue and Julie of The Dateable Podcast [EP070]

    Julie and Yue are smart, caring and intrepid explorers of the landscape of today’s dating world. In this episode, they share their most moving dating stories, their best advice, and the most essential challenges facing daters today. This was an incredible conversation – I hope you enjoy it!

    Episode Table of Contents

    Episode Introduction: Dateable Podcast

    Dateable Podcast

    Yue Xu and Julie Krafchick are the hosts of the Dateable Podcast, one of the top podcasts on love, sex, and dating. And in this episode, they’re going to reflect on the most important insights, the most notable trends, and the most memorable stories from their years of thoughtful work, right in the trenches of modern dating. Stay tuned to this episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.

    Hi, I’m Ken Page. Welcome to Deeper Dating. Today, I’m going to talk about why the number of single people keeps growing even with the wild proliferation of new ways to meet. I’m gonna talk about why so much dating advice actually stirs us away from healthy love instead of toward it.

    And I’m gonna talk about four keys to the wiser path to love. Four changes that you can make that will profoundly affect your ability to find and keep healthy love. And you can read more about this at our show notes at deeperdatingpodcast.com

    Ken: So Yue and Julie of the Dateable Podcast. I’m so thrilled to have you here.

    Yue: Thanks for having us, Ken.

    Julie: Yeah. We’re excited, too.

    Ken: I was on one of your earlier episodes in Season Nine and had a really good time there. I just love what you do. I love the intelligence, the thoughtfulness, the edginess, the kind of curiosity, the spirit of curiosity that you enter into this with, and all of the amazing stories and ideas and insights and thoughts that get generated on your podcast.

    Julie: Thank you. People loved your episode, too. It was definitely one of our crowd favorites.

    A Virtual Walk-Through to a Museum of Ideas With the Dateable Podcast Hosts

    A Virtual Walk-Through to a Museum of Ideas With the Dateable Podcast Hosts
    Photographer: Zachary Spears | Source: Unsplash

    Yue: We definitely have mutual love with you. I just want to promote you for one quick second. You were on Season Nine, Episode Six in an episode called Deeper Dating with Ken Page. For anyone interested, Ken Page is amazing.

    Julie: People saying like, “That was the most enlightened conversation I’ve heard in a while.” It was awesome.

    Ken: That makes me feel great. That makes me feel great. I’m so excited to dive in today because I feel like there’s this social distancing resource available now, which was probably available before but it’s visiting museums all over the world via the internet.

    Ken: I feel like in your years of curating the most amazing episodes and hearing so many stories from the frontline of dating and then working with them in thoughtful ways, tips, inside stories, that it’s like almost like a virtual walk-through a museum of ideas that are really important.

    Ken: So I am thrilled to walk down the halls of this museum with you and I have a whole bunch of questions that I think can highlight some of those things.

    Yue: I love that visual. I’m just thinking about walking through a museum about dating and seeing all the artifacts of the ways people used to date back in the day.

    Julie: Pre-COVID-19.

    Ken: Right. It’s true. It’s true. I remember Marianne Williamson was giving a talk once and she said that she was in a museum and she was looking at a painting of St. Sebastian with all these arrows through his body. She said, like, “What does this represent? What’s the artist trying to capture?”

    The Dateable Podcast Hosts Introduce Zumping

    Ken: Then she just said, “I get it. It’s dating.” I’d love to hear from each of you, well, I have a whole bunch of different questions but here’s one question that I want to ask is what is standing out for people that you talk to these days the most?

    Yue: These days as in the time of Coronavirus, Ken? Or these days as in 2020?

    Ken: Both good questions. I guess the answers would be really different so let’s go with both.

    Yue: With both?

    Julie: You can do pre, post world.

    Yue: That’s really good. I really believe that when it comes to modern dating, this is with or without Coronavirus, that I think there are a lot of blurred gender lines which is one of the main themes that we’ve been seeing. And because of the blurred gender lines, I think there’s been a lot of confusion on what is expected of your potential suitors.

    Yue: That’s what creates a lot of the miscommunication or even these dating terms that keep coming up like ghosting and breadcrumbing. But today, we learned a new dating term called zumping which is dumping over Zoom.

    Ken: Oh my God. The first time you heard it, folks. First time I heard it.

    Julie: We had a debate on our Facebook group. It’s like, “Is it better to be zumped or ghosted?” I think overall they decided zumped is better. Especially with Coronavirus, you’re not left hanging if someone is ill or something like that. It’s just clear that they do not want to be with you.

    Ken Paige: Oh, good point.

    Modern Dating

    Yue: Julie, I’m sure you have a lot of the learnings too for just modern dating in general.

    Julie: Yes. I think before maybe let’s stick with the pre-Coronavirus theme first and then we’ll both go into post. I think the biggest thing that stands out for me is that anything goes this day and age. I think in past generations, there was a very clear path that people took. It was like, find a relationship that’s monogamous, get married, have children.

    Julie: There was one linear path for the majority. I think what’s been happening in modern dating is that we are given the ability to create the relationships we want and people are really starting to question a lot of those norms especially because our generation is the byproduct of divorce.

    Julie: I think we’ve seen relationships that haven’t gone well under that pre-notion of it must go a certain way. So people have been really exploring different avenues, whether that’s like polyamory or being pansexual, or whatever it might be, it’s really people are not afraid to go out and experiment.

    Julie: I think that’s actually something that’s really wonderful about our generation. But also it’s a challenge because I think there’s just so many options and sometimes people get confused. It’s actually not a bad thing if you’re confused because we’ve seen people on our podcast that are like, “Okay. I haven’t had a great …”

    Julie: There’s one woman that’s standing out for me, that’s like, “I haven’t had great experiences with men. I’m going to try dating a couple. I’m going to try opening my bumble to women and just see what happens.”

    Crossing the Tripwires of Taboo

    Crossing the Tripwires of Taboo
    Photographer: Feliphe Schiarolli | Source: Unsplash

    Julie: She actually found love with a woman and explored other sides of herself and then realized full circle that she actually really was attracted to men. I think that that could sound confused to some people but I think it’s really just getting the space to explore yourself and modern dating allows us to do that.

    Ken: So interesting. The things that each of you said really are connected because you’re kind of crossing these tripwires of taboo and entering into a new space, which is both wonderful and scary and also really confusing. Yes, just thinking about both of those parts, it’s easy to get scared, right?

    Ken: It’s easy to want to venture into something new like, “I’m attracted to this person, I’m attracted to this situation but that doesn’t fit in with what feels like home or safe to me, but I want to go ahead with it.”

    Ken: But then the fear comes up, the confusion comes up. What do people tend to do with that in each of those arenas that you both describe, the shape and the form of a relationship, but also gender identity stuff?

    Ken: I just got to take one minute and say that I am constantly tortured by relationship teachers who say, “Men, you have to be alpha men.” Or, “Women, don’t forget your femininity. You can’t let go of your femininity, or you won’t find your alpha guy.” Just it’s agony. I think that happens less for younger folks.

    The Dateable Podcast Explores a Room Full of Naked Art

    Yue: I think to relate back to your museum analogy, Ken, is I think what people are feeling right now is that they’re going through a museum and they’re taking this map that their ancestors have passed, and said, “You should follow this path in this museum to get to the exit or whatever the Nirvana is.”

    Yue: Everyone’s ripping up these maps thinking, “Okay. I don’t want to take that path because I don’t believe that that’s where the route I should take.” But what’s it’s causing is that they don’t know where to go next, “Which room should I explore next? What art should I look at next?”

    Yue: What everyone’s doing is they’re just throwing themselves into rooms of art and to just see how I feel. It could be like a room full of naked art. “How does this make me feel right now?”

    Yue: A room full of biblical art, “How does this make me feel right now?” I think what’s happening right now, especially during time of quarantine, is that people are trying to digest and analyze how they’re feeling.

    Yue: I think daters, for so many years, have just try to experiment and go into these different paths. But now’s the time, their quiet time to say, “How did these rooms really make me feel? Then what is my next step?”

    Julie: I think that’s so dead-on because I think that is the challenge with all this, is that there’s analysis paralysis that you basically just don’t do anything.

    Julie of the Dateable Podcast Says Dive in and Take the Plunge

    Julie: We talked to another author that basically was saying how a lot of times people would say they want relationships, but because they weren’t in the right place financially or they hadn’t explored their career to the maximum yet or they weren’t fully the person they wanted to be or they didn’t do whatever they’re trying to get to the next level.

    Julie: But the problem with that is, you’re never 100%. So it’s when do you just take the chance and dive in with someone and evolve together versus taking that time to figure it out on your own and waiting for that perfect moment that’s just never going to come?

    Julie: I think that’s been the challenge for people is overcoming all these options, all the self-reflection and just making moves like we’ve talked about. The only way to really understand relationships is to get into relationships and that could be like a month relationship, a three-month relationship.

    Julie: It doesn’t need to be years and years. That’s the best way to really understand what you want, opposed to just getting into this decision-making mode that doesn’t go anywhere.

    Yue: Exactly.

    Ken: Yes, there’s so much in this. It’s making me think of a million things but one thing it’s making me think of is the vulnerability of the person who is in that new room already and then gets a newbie who’s frightened.

    Ken: It makes me think of gay men having a relationship with a newly out gay man or a gay woman. Especially if that other person comes from a religious tradition that claws at them and grabs at them in terms of guilt and all of that.

    Yue of the Dateable Podcast Talks About Taking Risks in Love

    Ken: I remember a gay male friend of mine, we were just hanging out in his room and he said, “Okay. I’m lying on this bed and everyone has to start out in the closet. When they’re ready to come out and make the decision to fully come out, then they could join me in bed, but not until then.” He had been so disappointed so many times.

    Ken: So yes, there’s a little bit of a risk for that person who’s kind of, I guess there’s really a risk for both. There’s a risk for the person taking the new step and there’s a risk for the person who’s done that already. That kind of risk is beautiful, in a way. It’s scary but it’s wonderful.

    Ken: And we know that risk sparks Eros. That Eros is a spark that needs to jump a gap. There’s something sexy about taking risks.

    Yue: Yes, if you think about it, our approach to romance and love lives are kind of trailing behind how we approach life in general. Because I think if you look at millennials and younger generations, they are motivated to try non-traditional lifestyles, they’re motivated to not have a career and they’re motivated to not possess and own things.

    Yue: Yet when it comes to their love lives, it’s a little bit delayed. I think now it’s catching up where I think people are thinking in that manner of, “Okay. How do I take risks in my love life and how do I think in a non-traditional way without imposing all these expectations from society or my ancestors,” whatever it may be.

    The Dateable Podcast Shares the Biggest Challenge That People Face

    The Dateable Podcast Shares the Biggest Challenge That People Face
    Photographer: Jukan Tateisi | Source: Unsplash

    Yue: I think we are getting to that tipping point of everyone wanting to make these decisions and take the risk. They just don’t know how, it’s just they’re missing the tools.

    Julie: I think that’s a really good point. Because I think to our conversation just a few minutes ago of like, “How much self-analysis do you do versus take action?” I don’t think it’s one or the other. I think that you do need to actually get in touch with yourself and I think there’s a mistake people make of just dating over and over again, and never taking time to self-reflect either.

    Julie: We always talk about the importance of therapy and getting to the root of what you’re really looking for in life and all that. But I think you have to balance that with also being willing to be vulnerable and get hurt and take those chances.

    Julie: I think that’s maybe the silver bullet is how do you get to a place that you’re feeling self-confident enough and that you don’t need a partner but you’re willing to make room for someone and really take a risk with it.

    Julie: Because what we see, and I think this is maybe the biggest challenge that people face, is that everyone wants to just be half in. They never want to admit that they had a great time or tell that person that this was such a great date or they really like them or whatever. They’re always just trying to play it cool. Like, “I could take it or leave it.”

    The “Love Is Blind Experiment” From the Dateable Podcast

    Julie: We actually just did a Love is Blind Experiment on our podcast and we saw with both of the people that ended up going on a date is they basically were like, “It was good. I would see them again. But if it doesn’t work out, I won’t be devastated.”

    Julie: I actually think that approach might be the most dangerous because it just puts you in this middle limbo, that you’re not taking a chance either way.

    Ken: I love that.

    Yue: We also talked about this on your episode, Ken, when we had you on. For some reason, we’re in this competition to show the least interest in the other person. Whoever shows the least interest wins somehow. That’s just baffling to me because that’s not how relationships work.

    Julie: I blame bad dating books for that. There was that, “Why Men Love Bitches,” or whatever that would teach you to do exactly what you just said, Yue. So I think there’s that ingrainment.

    Julie: Especially in people that are crossing that maybe elder millennial line of like of the new way of thinking and the old way of thinking. I think a lot of us struggle with, “Should I play these rules that I was once told where younger people are like ‘What are you guys even talking about?’”

    Ken: Yes and the bad part of when we do that is when we suppress our enthusiasm it turns into a frozenness or a secret neediness or more likely both. Those are not great places. Because I think that’s another thing is that, I mean, I think we all have all different kinds of circuitries of attraction.

    Double Perspectives and Date Experiments From the Dateable Podcast

    Ken: I know that I could be attracted to, in my past, but still, just the experience of attraction, it’s easy to be attracted on all different levels to someone who feels a little bit withholding. There’s a lot there but there’s a lot not given yet. There’s something where you want to win that person over.

    Ken: I know that kind of circuitry of attraction and it was where I spent many decades of hell before finding my husband. But then there’s another thing, it’s I could be deeply attracted to someone who really goes out on a limb in showing me how much he cares and how much he likes me and sexually, emotionally really gets vulnerable. That is sexy, too. It’s risky but it’s really sexy.

    Julie: Exactly. I think one of the things that we’ve, at least for me has been the most fascinating in our podcast is we do these, we’ve done a bunch of these date experiments where we hear two different perspectives of the date. Or just like we’ve heard couples stories or just anything that’s double perspective.

    Julie: I think when you’re dating, you forget that there is another person there that has a life before you. Especially if you’ve gone on one or two dates, how many hours have you really spent with this person? Four max, right? It’s like, “You have no idea what’s going on in their lives.”

    Julie: I think we tend to think, and I definitely was guilty of this in my 20s, and maybe even very early 30s, thinking like I was the center of the world and if they weren’t texting me back, it meant that they didn’t like me.

    The Dateable Podcast Takes Us Into the World of Ghosting

    Julie: I think when you play the games and you’re like, “I’m going to hold off and see if you text me,” and all that, it doesn’t actually get to the root of what’s happening in their lives and it just maybe makes this push-pull that doesn’t do anything and it doesn’t move this forward.

    Julie: For example, we had a past guest of ours and someone in our Facebook group saying that he got ghosted during quarantine. He just do a virtual hike date and the girl just fell off the face of the universe. My point to him was like, “Why don’t you just reach out and tell her that you were really looking forward to …”

    Julie: Because they had one virtual date that I guess went really well and he said it was the best connection he’s had in a long time. It’s like what is the harm in reaching out and saying like, “Hey, how are things going? I was really looking forward to this date.”

    Julie: Especially right now when COVID-19 is rampant, there’s so many external things happening in people’s lives. Dating might not be at the forefront for everyone right now, especially if they’re dealing with health things or family or whatever it may be.

    Julie: So why not give this person the benefit of the doubt and try to come from a place of understanding and putting yourself at least out there a little. What do you really have to lose at that point?

    Ken: Wow. I just want to take that, put it in a little, I don’t know what, a little advice pedestal that’s really big and really actionable. I know it’s really true.

    The Dateable Podcast Recommends Taking an Extra Step of Vulnerability

    The Dateable Podcast Recommends Taking an Extra Step of Vulnerability
    Photographer: Lindsay Henwood | Source: Unsplash

    Ken: I mean, when I met my husband, he was with his two kids, I was with my one kid. I was totally available and looking and he had his hand hands full with his girls. He blew me off on, I would say, 1.5 of our dates.

    Julie: Now you’re married. Right?

    Ken: Yes, we’re married. Yes, I gave up. I was like, “All right, I got to be the adult here. I give up.” Then one night, I woke up, bolt up right with this feeling like, “If I don’t go out of my way, I’m going to lose this opportunity.” So I did and I just think what you said is a lesson to everybody.

    Ken: It’s really worth it to take that extra step of vulnerability. I mean, you’re not going to keep doing it if the person’s not interested but not trying could be such a loss for just the reason you said. I just love that.

    Julie: I mean, right now if you’re not with them, what do you have to lose by reaching out one more time? It’s the same situation of that you’re in now. I think there is a line though. I don’t think someone should be reaching out every day after not hearing back.

    Julie: I think, my personal take is the one time roll. It’s the one time benefit of the doubt, let me just throw it out there, be as vulnerable as I can in just the fact of how it’s affecting me that come from a place of love not accusing either, and see what’s the response.

    Dating Advice for the World From the Dateable Podcast Hosts

    Ken: Dating advice for the world. I love that. I just have to go back to the actionability of the first thing you talked about, that both of you talked about, which is you’re doing online dating.

    Ken: What are the parts of yourself that might not fit into the gender stereotypes you think she should be showing but you kind of feel, can you put that out in your profile? Can you put it out with the new person you’re meeting? And what kind of stuff are you interested in? Sexually, form of relationship?

    Ken: Even maybe like, “All right. I’ll try meeting someone who’s in a different country or a different state or outside of my age range or height range or weight range, or maybe someone who has a different kind of education.”

    Ken: That kind of thing of like, “Let me stretch and play here a little bit in very real ways.” Because we could do that so concretely so I really just think what fabulous invitations those two things are to a richer dating life.

    Yue: That’s a really great scenario you just presented, too, because we get this question a lot. “What should I divulge on my dating profile? What should I say that’s off-limits on a first date?” Our answer is always, “There shouldn’t be anything that’s off-limits if it’s important to you.”

    Yue: I think what a lot of people do on their dating profiles or when they meet someone in person is they talk about their deal breakers which I think is so detrimental for any relationship. Because a deal breaker means it’s an absolute thing. There is no budging.

    Dateable Podcast Tips on How Online Dating Can Become a Richer Experience

    Yue: You are absolutely not going to like someone because of this thing and it makes you come off very close-minded.

    Yue: So what we always advise people is in your profiles, instead of saying your deal breakers or what you like, what about listing things that you don’t know about but you’re curious about? I actually have no idea if I like to travel to India, I will put that in my profile because I’m curious to know.

    Yue: Then you’re able to attract people who can say, “Actually, I’ve been to India, let me tell you about the experience.” It just makes you seem very open-minded and just fluid in so many ways. That’s where beautiful things can come out of it.

    Ken: So these are the kind of pieces of dating advice that people don’t get to hear. Love that. That’s so great. I got to stick with this for a minute because so many people are doing online dating.

    Ken: So from all of your experience and all of your thinking and reflections, tell us more about kind of other ideas or tips or suggestions for making online dating a richer, more effective experience. What have you learned? What have you heard that you really liked? Just anything. These tips are gold and they’re the kind of things you do not get to hear.

    Julie: I think just sticking with profiles for now, but I think online dating can go even much further than that clearly. But just to continue on that for a second.

    The Dateable Podcast Profile Reviews

    Julie: I think one thing that … because we actually do like profile reviews with some of our listeners if they’re interested in doing that service and I’d actually had a really interesting conversation with someone recently. They had a lot of photos, for example, of them doing extreme adventure challenge.

    Julie: One thing I commented to them was like, “How important is this in your life? Is this something that is make or break, if you don’t have a partner that’s going to do this with you that wouldn’t make you happy?”

    Julie: Or is this kind of like, “Nice to have or something that I did once or twice.” Or, “I’m kind of just using this photo because I think I should have this extreme photo in there to look cool,” or whatever it may be.

    Julie: I think from a female perspective, from someone that isn’t a super adventurous travel type of person, my thought was, this feels a little intimidating. I guess where I kind of came to him was, “When people are looking at your profile, they’re trying to imagine a life with you.”

    Julie: They’re not trying to say, “That guy looks cool because he did this crazy hike.” It’s, “Could I see myself being in this person’s life?” That’s why I think it comes down to how important is this.

    Julie: To the point of if this really is something that you need in your life and if you had a partner that wasn’t, then by all means, keep that in your profile.

    Looking Through the Lens of Building a Partnership

    Looking Through a Lens of Building Partnership
    Photographer: Mathieu Stern | Source: Unsplash

    Julie: If it’s not, and what really came out of my conversation with him is he’s like, “I don’t actually really care if I do this with a partner. I’ve done this maybe once or twice in my life.”

    Julie: Then my advice was to lose that photo. So I think it really comes down to looking through it as a lens of building a partnership with someone not showing off in your profile.

    Yue: That’s such a great one, Julie, because it’s like you guys stop with the fake news when it comes to your dating profiles. I think everyone feels like they have to have certain photos one to show that they’re active, one to show that they’re adventurous and they like to travel, one to show the sensitive side, another one to show them in a group setting so they’re social and fun.

    Yue: That is not the formula you need to follow in order to attract a partner because everyone has the exact same set of photos. Stop spreading the fake news and just use the photos that are quintessentially who you are.

    Yue: If you can’t find those photos, it means you don’t know who you are. Why not spend the time to figure out who you are first? It’s crazy to me that the amount of people who come to us for dating advice on their dating profiles and then they’ll push back and say, “But I heard that you’re supposed to have one where you’re half smiling.”

    Yue: “But I heard that you’re supposed to have one when you’re outside and your hair is flowing, you’re doing a jumping shot.”

    A Balance Between Knowing Yourself and Finding out Who You Are

    Yue: Where are you getting this news? That’s not you. You’re having someone else tell you who you are. That’s just fake news so stop with it.

    Julie: Yes and that goes back to this balance again of taking the time to get to know yourself before you’re just going and going and going to find someone else versus finding out who you are, what’s core to you and then making a plan and acting on it.

    Ken: This is beautiful. I just want to do this thing of extracting to really, really actionable things out of this. One is this kind of theme concept of what you’re trying to do in writing your online profile is give a sense of what it would be like to have you in their life, in someone’s life. What it would be like to have a life with you and to have that as kind of a way that you’re thinking. I love that.

    Ken: The other thing is for your photograph, that what you’re thinking about is what really shows me. I’m just so certain that those pictures will have more punch and more magnetism and more attractability for the right people. I love those things.

    Ken: I just want to say, anybody who wants help with their profile, this is a wonderful place to go, is to Julie and Yue. Because so many people will push you to be witty and push you to be cool and push you to be all these different things and those are not the profiles that you want to write. You want to write the profiles like they’re both saying, that are really you.

    The Dateable Podcast Way of Writing Your Profile

    Yue: I would just say that so many people write their profiles trying to appeal to the masses like it’s a presidential campaign. Think about only writing your profile for that one person. That is the person for you. Stop trying to build as many matches as possible. You’re not trying to attract 1,000 people here. In fact, it’s not a popularity contest. All it takes is just one person so write it for that person.

    Ken: This is huge. This is huge. That’s so important. I love that.

    Julie: Because people get so hung up on, “I’m not getting enough matches.” I get it that you need enough volume coming in because you just don’t know where people are at. But also just getting a ton of quantity that’s not going anywhere isn’t really solving your problem either.

    Ken: I think that’s really true. Also, I just want to say, especially for women who are maybe over 50 and say constantly, “I don’t get that many responses and the kind of thing of so many guys who are in that age range and older only want younger women and are kind of like a kid in a candy store immature.”

    Ken: There’s really a lot of that going on. You might not get as many matches. In the work that I do with people, as people really become their more essential self as they tune the radio dial to them, to that dial, they may find less people, that there may be less people, but those people will be more resonant, kinder, more available.

    The Dateable Podcast Reveals Why Dating Is Not a Numbers Game

    The Dateable Podcast Reveals Why Dating Is Not a Numbers Game
    Photographer: Kay | Source: Unsplash

    Ken: That just is the kind of … When people do what you’re describing, somehow the kind of people they meet and the kind of people that are drawn to them begin to change. There’s a dignity and an integrity to what you’re saying that I think comes across.

    Julie: You know what? Yue and I have a, we have a belief that isn’t always popular. People will always say that it’s a numbers game and we think it is not a numbers game.

    Yue: Definitely not.

    Ken: I’m with you.

    Julie: Okay, you and your unpopular opinion with us. There are more people out there that agree. But I think we both witness so many people that go on date after date after date and they don’t go anywhere. I know even for myself, like in my 20s when Tinder first came out, I was going on three to four dates a week and they never went past a couple dates.

    Julie: I think it’s a trap when you think that you need to fill your funnels and the more the better. I think what we’ve seen too, is we had one person that we did an exit interview at one of our favorite podcast episodes.

    Julie: One guy came to us and said, “I’ve been on hundreds of first dates.” His Hinge account was so full. I’ve never seen someone with more matches in my entire life but none of them went to second dates. We actually ended up calling five of his past dates to hear what happened so it was like an exit interview. Like you have at work. It was eye-opening and fascinating.

    The Most Moving Sex Episodes From the Dateable Podcast

    Julie: He thought he was getting rejected time and time again but most of the girls actually wanted to go out with him again but he was projecting his own insecurities of rejection onto them.

    Julie: For example, a waiter came by and said, “Do you guys want another drink?” And he said, “No.” So the girl obviously thought he was not interested at all. But in his mind, he was feeling like she was not into it or she had to get up early for work the next day.

    Julie: I think it is not all about the numbers, it’s about having a genuine connection and also putting yourself out there truly and being vulnerable in taking those steps.

    Ken: I really agree. I really agree. I would love to ask you both a bunch of questions. I mean, there’s so much I want to extract because you’re in such a unique position of really hearing people’s stories in a conscious way.

    Ken: Thinking about them, reflecting on them, assessing them, weaving them all together, I mean, it’s just kind of an amazing grid of experience and reflection. So I want to really extract more of these goodies. I just want to ask you a few kind of semi-quick questions. Okay?

    Yue: Okay.

    Ken: Okay, great. So here’s one question, in all of your episodes where you’ve talked about sex, what’s one thing for each of you that stands out as either very moving or very important that you heard or learned?

    Yue: For me personally, we’ve actually spoken to a few sex experts, sexperts, I guess, you could call them, and all of them have said it is our time to reclaim our own pleasure.

    The Dateable Podcast Promotes Seeking the Ultimate Pleasure

    Yue: So I think if you really step back and think about it, the media has really owned our pleasure for so many years to talk about, “We should enjoy sex, we should enjoy this kind of sex.” Pornography has dictated what we think pleasure should be.

    Yue: And if we really step back from that pleasure that media has portrayed for us and really separate that from what we believe is pleasurable then we’re able to seek the ultimate pleasure for ourselves. That, when it comes to sex is having sex with yourself more and exploring yourself more.

    Yue: This is one of the most eye-opening conversations I had was, I spoke to this friend of mine who’s in her early 20s and she’s a virgin, and she said, “I am so confused about sex right now because all I learned about sex growing up in Sex Ed was how to not have sex or how to have safe sex but I was never taught how to enjoy sex. So I’m going to spend the next two or three years exploring myself and figuring out all the toys I can use so I know how to pleasure myself.

    Ken: I love that. That’s just great.

    Julie: Yes, I mean, I 100% agree with everything you just said. Those have been definitely takeaways I’ve had. I think the other big one that’s come from all the sexperts we’ve talked to is people are so open or we stress open communication so much just about what’s happening in the relationship.

    Julie: And there’s also the sex positivity that’s happening, that people are more comfortable talking about sex.

    The Dateable Podcast Explores the Private World of Sex

    The Dateable Podcast Explores the Private World of Sex
    Photographer: Hutomo Abrianto | Source: Unsplash

    Julie: But for whatever reason, a lot of times, we’re hesitant to talk about what’s not happening or not going well in our sex lives with our partners. They’re still just walking on eggshells feeling like, “I can’t discuss this with them because it’s a blame situation or something to that sort.”

    Julie: I even found myself, I had a friend that came to me asking just for some advice in her relationship, that just things weren’t going very well and I had trouble bringing myself to ask her what her sex life was like with him. I was thinking about it like, “Why did I have such trouble?” There’s this feeling that it’s so private that I can’t share it and I can’t talk about it.

    Julie: We had Dr. Alexandra Solomon who is a professor at Northwestern for a very popular marriage one-on-one class and author and all that and she said something that has really stuck with me for a while is it doesn’t need to be a blame or shame and that’s why we have so much because we’re not willing to put it out there and look at how we can solve this together.

    Julie: It doesn’t need to be like, “You’re doing something wrong or I’m doing something wrong.” Especially if we have different sexual desires. It doesn’t always have to be so black and white. Like if one person is more vanilla, the other person is more into kink, maybe there is something that you can start to explore together. Or also maybe there’s a way they can find that outlet elsewhere, with the way …

    The Dateable Podcast Explores the Hallmarks of Trauma

    Julie: Again, it kind of goes back to what we were talking about earlier of people just defining their own relationships more and it doesn’t have to be just something that we’re prescribed to from what we’ve learned and what we’ve been taught is a relationship.

    Julie: So the same goes for sexuality, how can you explore together and bring down the barriers and make it something that doesn’t have blame or shame?

    Ken: I love that. I love that. You know, it’s making me think about how we’ve all been to some degree traumatized around sex. Maybe it’s for some people, it’s small T trauma, for some people, it’s large T trauma.

    Ken: But we’ve all been traumatized by the kind of shaming and lack of insight and openness and the kind of whole cultural context of secrecy around sex. So we’ve all been traumatized. One of the hallmarks of trauma is black and white thinking.

    Ken: The more trauma, the more black and white thinking. So you’re describing kind of moving ourselves away from black and white thinking around talking and experiencing our sex life and I love that because that helps reduce and healed trauma.

    Julie: Right. We were actually, I remember we talked about this in episode two. We had a live show and we had a guest at our live show, we had someone that was there ask a question about what would …

    Julie: Maybe I’m butchering this question, Yue. If it’s different, but it was something around, “If I sleep with him too soon, will he judge me?” Or like, “Should I sleep with a man on the first date?”

    Yue: Yes, is it okay to sleep with someone on the first date?

    The Dateable Podcast Episode With Dr. Alexandra Solomon

    Julie: Right, that’s what it was.

    Ken: And more like a woman’s question, right?

    Julie: Yes, I think it actually really surprised us in this day and age because I think just so much has been broken down with that. I also feel like there is still that piece out there that there’s this feeling like these old rules I must follow.

    Julie: And I think when we talked about this too on the episode with Dr. Alexandra Solomon her point was the fact that it’s coming from, “Am I doing something wrong?” that’s the true problem. It should be coming from a place of like, “I want to pursue my sexual self.”

    Julie: And at that point that is when you make the decision like, “Is this something I want to do for myself or not?” versus, “If I do this, what outcome will it have with this other person?”

    Ken: Huge, huge. So that when your question is, “Should I be sleeping with this person now?” it’s not, “How am I going to look doing this?” it’s, “What feels right to me? What really feels organically right at the moment?” Let me just say that if you’re intoxicated, your answer won’t be as clear as if you’re not. Just saying.

    Yue: Is that from experience, Ken?

    Ken: Absolutely. It’s from personal experience. Experience as a therapist and it’s so easy to want to drink or get high in early dating because it’s so anxiety-producing.

    Favorite Episodes From the Dateable Podcast

    Favorite Episodes From the Dateable Podcast
    Photographer: Matt Botsford | Source: Unsplash

    Ken: Here’s another question, if you think about your years of being hosts on your podcast, I would just like to ask you to think about one story that stands out right now. That just feels like really hits you at this moment.

    Ken: Maybe it was really touching or really important, but somehow stands out. Just one story from each of you. I would love to hear. Whatever comes.

    Julie: It’s so hard.

    Yue: Julie, I have one. Do you want me to go first?

    Julie: You go first.

    Yue: We get this question a lot and I feel like my answer changes depending on what mood I’m in. Today, I’m this mood of journey and having a journey where you don’t end up where you thought you would. On Season Eight, Episode 19, we had a guy on named Ryan Van Duzer, who’s actually a friend of mine. It was called Quest for Love with Ryan Van Duzer.

    Yue: This story sticks out to me because he is someone who, on the surface level, you would think he was a player, you would think he’s such a party animal, he is just so happy and he can get along with anybody. He flirts with all kinds of girls all the time. But deep down, he is such a romantic and he wants to find love so bad.

    Yue: In this interview, he talks about all his failures. I guess I wouldn’t even call them failures but experiences of trying to find love and having it not work out. But in the end, what you don’t see so much on the surface level because you just know him on a social scene is that he still believes in love.

    The Dateable Podcast Treads the Journey to Find Love

    Yue: After all these years, he still believes he’s going to find true love and he will not stop at anything to find it. It’s so inspirational because this guy truly believes that he’s on a journey to find love. Through all the experiences he’s had so far, it’s bringing him that much closer.

    Julie: I love that episode, too. That was definitely one of my personal favorites.

    Ken: That’s beautiful. That’s very touching and connected to the theme of what we’re talking about. That it’s like scratching the surface of the way we think people are, there’s a lot more underneath and a lot more possibility and a lot more vulnerability underneath. I love that story. I imagine that he is like a lot of your listeners and my listeners.

    Julie: You know what? I kind of agree with you, Yue, that depending on my mood, my mood changes. I want to keep something that’s related to this conversation, too, is we had, I believe it was season six, we had an episode called Just Say Yes.

    Julie: We had our guest Cheryl, who was super single. She was in DC at the time, no real prospects. She’s like, “What can I do to really shake up my dating life?” She’d always been had this list of things to look for and all that and she got inspired. I forget exactly how she came to this.

    Julie: Maybe she heard it on a podcast. Actually not this podcast. We’re not around back then. But on a book or TV show or something. She basically had this idea that she would just say yes to whoever came into contact with her and asked her on a date.

    Coming Out of the Woodwork

    Julie: So she basically was going on dates with people that she would never have gone on dates with before. It really helped her.

    Julie: I think first of all, she did it as an experiment for a month just to see what her mindset ended up coming out after being and a few things I think came to surface for her, is it really did actually help her get clear about what she was looking for in a partner because she had so many people that she was interacting with and people that she might have dismissed earlier because of whatever superficial things.

    Julie: I think she said she like an MMA fighter or someone that she would never have come in contact with and she actually found him to be like really sweet and sentimental. It was things, again, that wasn’t on the surface that she would not have even gotten the chance to look at if she hadn’t been so open.

    Julie: But the other big thing that happened for her was that men were really coming out of the woodwork. Nothing else changed in her daily life. She was a teacher so it was in a predominantly female environment. She didn’t change her life.

    Julie: She didn’t lose weight. She didn’t change her hairstyle, nothing like that but she was getting hit on so many more times than she ever had in her life. And it was the energy that she was putting out there.

    Julie: Eventually, it actually led her to her husband, who she’s now married to with a kid.

    The Dateable Podcast Shuns the Waiting Game

    Julie: She was also because she had all this experience from this experiment, she was able to see that he was the first guy, too, that really asked her, for example, like, “Are you dating other people?”

    Julie: Wanted to know if he was the only person in the running and started to also talk about a life that they could share together. Things that she knew now from so many other people that weren’t coming into a conversation that this was a keeper.

    Ken: Oh my God.

    Yue: Julie, I love that one as well. I think that episode was so inspirational on so many levels because a lot of times we think, “Once this happens then I can do this.” We’re waiting for stuff to happen, we’re waiting for milestones but she just proves to you that she can take hold of her own life, she is in control and she didn’t wait for anything to happen. She made things happen.

    Julie: I feel like I’ve definitely fallen guilty of this, too. It’s like, “I must lose 10 pounds and then I can go back onto the dating scene.” It doesn’t work that way. Usually, no one notices except for you.

    Ken: It’s totally true. Totally, totally true. That was an amazing story. These were both amazing stories and I think that they captured the whole theme of this conversation which was something about the magic of openness. The risk, the scariness, and how openness actually changes the field, our magnetic field, our internal state, that that commitment to a kind of openness changes things.

    Yue: So true.

    How the Dateable Podcast Has Evolved Over the Last Four Years

    How the Dateable Podcast Has Evolved Over the Last Four Years
    Photographer: Johannes Plenio | Source: Unsplash

    Julie: It’s interesting because our podcast, we’ve evolved over the four years that we’ve been doing this. I think both Yue and I thought initially like, “Let’s just do this fun podcast where we hear people’s stories.” We didn’t even expect to learn that much from it. We kind of thought like, “We’ll just share like funny dating stories.”

    Julie: Over the years, it has evolved to just being this platform where we look at things with just an open and new perspective and hear different perspectives, different experiences, and it allows you to really just change the way that you approach dating, and that’s where it’s been so fascinating to how it’s evolved.

    Ken: That is why it’s such a delight to get to speak with you both because you both are, going back to the museum, in which you both are curators. You’re curators of news, of stories, of insight, of what’s going on in the front lines and the inside lines.

    Ken: You do that in a way that is really thoughtful. There are very few people doing that. The information that you have is really, really gold. You got to write a book about this because your perspective is just who else has that?

    Ken: Who else is approaching these questions with such thoughtfulness and with so many stories? I feel like I would love to have you both back at a later point because I want to extract more wisdom and insight and stories from you.

    Yue: And vice versa, Ken.

    Ken: It’s a deal.

    Julie: The book is in the plan, so don’t worry.

    The Beauty of Finding Love

    Yue: To quote the great Ken Page when he was on our show, for everyone listening, he said,

    The search for love is a big ass journey.

    I will always remember that quote because it’s so true. It’s just a big ass journey. It’s never-ending and we’re always constantly learning. That is the beauty of finding love.

    Ken: Absolutely. Well, it has been a complete joy to have you both on the show. I can’t wait to continue this conversation. But could you tell us a little bit about how people could get in touch with you?

    Ken: All of this is going to be in the show notes, all these links and everything will be in the show notes. But we’d still love to hear from you every way that people could get in touch with you and what they could get in touch with you for.

    Julie: Sure. I mean, to start, our podcast is available pretty much on every major platform. Apple PodcastSpotifyStitcher RadioOvercast, pretty much any podcast player that you want to go to. That’s the best way to get in touch with us. But also, on Instagram, we’re @dateablepodcast.

    Julie: We also have a new Facebook group too called Love in the Time of Corona that’s been really, really interesting, especially as we’re going through something so different and it’s going to change our dating lives even once this is over.

    Ken: Beautiful. Beautiful. You had said that people could work with you on their profiles, is that correct?

    Yue: Yes, we also offer curated coaching so you can do profile reviews with us or you can choose one of the coaches that we’ve specifically picked for Dateable listeners.

    Closing Thoughts

    Julie: If you go to our website, it’s all on there. DateablePodcast.com and then on dateablepodcast.com/coaching is where you can find that. We’re also always looking for submissions for stories. So if people have their own experience because I think what is a little different about our podcast is we talk to experts but we also talk to just real active daters that are going through their own stuff. We love hearing different stories so you can submit them through dateablepodcast.com/story.

    Ken: Fantastic. Fantastic. Is there anything that each of you would like to say in closing? Just the last closing thought?

    Yue: Well, I think my closing thought is, and this is from many of our guests, we’ve learned this lesson is that “You have to go through the trenches to find gold.”

    Yue: And that this journey to find love is that when you feel like you’re in the trenches, when you feel down and you feel like you’re in a dark place, just know that you’re meant to be there and you’re going to get through it but you have to go through it.

    Yue: There are no hacks or no shortcuts. You just have to feel these feelings, experience what you’re experiencing right now and then you will come out of it.

    Julie: That’s a really good one. I think the one that I always … and we’ve talked about it throughout this whole thing, it’s the balance of your own self-work and your own self-love and then also relating with others and getting into relationships. It can’t be one or it can’t be the other, it needs to be a combination of both.

    Doing Self Work Is a Pre-Requisite to Working With Someone

    Julie: But I think if you don’t do the self-work, then it makes being in a relationship really difficult because you don’t actually know how to state your needs, you don’t know how to have that healthy communication, and you don’t know how to actually work with someone.

    Julie: I think at the end of the day, the most successful relationships that we’ve either heard from experts or we’ve heard from people in them or we’ve experienced ourselves is when two people are committed to making it work and to being open as a team, to figure out how to make things better for both partners and it’s not one person versus the other.

    Julie: It’s not, “I feel this way, you feel this way. It’s like how do we solve this together and make a relationship that works for both of us?”

    Ken: I love that. I love both of these points. They’re so key and they’re beautiful. Having you both on the show was just an absolute delight.

    Yue: Thank you so much for having us on the show.

    Julie: Thank you.

    Ken: Thank you both. I want to thank everybody for listening to Julie and Yue and the Dateable Podcast. If you want to get a transcript of this complete episode, just go to deeperdatingpodcast.com. I encourage you to join my mailing list and you’ll get a free ebook as well as the first two chapters of my book Deeper Dating. So thankful to everybody in the listening community for being here. See you all on the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.

  • What Happens When Gratitude Doesn’t Work? [EP069]

    Cultivating gratitude is wonderful, but forced gratitude clouds our judgment and creates self-doubt and self-recrimination. Sometimes, it’s much wiser to just admit that we’re hurting, that things don’t feel right, that something just has to change. In this episode, we’ll explore when gratitude really helps us and when it holds us back. And we’ll explore how to use the power of clarity to create positive change in our lives.

    Table of Contents

    Episode Introduction: When Gratitude Doesn’t Work

    When Gratitude Doesn’t Work

    Everyone knows that having gratitude is a wonderful thing. But the pressure to feel gratitude when things feel wrong to us actually hurts and weakens us. What’s a healthy way that we can hold gratitude and non-gratitude in our lives? Stay tuned to this episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast to learn more.

    Hello everybody, and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page, and I’m a psychotherapist, the author of Deeper Dating, and the host of this podcast. And today, I’m going to be talking about how the pressure to feel gratitude can actually hurt us.

    This week and every week, I’m going to share with you the best tools I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing. Because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love.

    And if you want to learn more about the deeper dating path, just go to deeperdatingpodcast.com. If you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get free gifts, and you’ll also be able to get a lot of information about new events, new workshops, new courses, and the work of other people I deeply respect.

    I also just want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment. If you’re experiencing any serious psychological conditions, please seek professional help.

    Subscribe and Leave Ken a Review

    Subscribe and Leave Ken a Review
    Leave Ken a Review

    Finally, if you like what you’re hearing here, it would be a wonderful gift if you could subscribe and leave me a review. So let’s jump right in.

    So today, I want to talk about the healing gift of not having to be grateful. Now I deeply believe in gratitude. I’m not saying that gratitude is not a precious thing, that what we appreciate appreciates. That the act of finding the good and finding the gift is the wisest thing that we can do.

    What I’m talking about more is what Jeff Brown calls, ” new cage thinking,” which is this kind of sense of pressure that even if something feels wrong to us, we’re supposed to accept it, be grateful for it, let it be. When in fact often our insides are telling us this isn’t right.

    So cultivating gratitude is wonderful, but forced gratitude clouds our judgment and usually, it mutates into self-recrimination. This feeling of having to find gratitude when things feel wrong is great. But let’s acknowledge what feels wrong, or we’re going to be hypnotizing ourselves out of our own personal power.

    We need to also learn to honor feelings that are not bitter, but not exactly gratitude. A feeling of emptiness inside, a feeling of longing, or a gut-level sense that something is wrong. Those troubling feelings really hold a huge amount of the key for achieving our most precious life goals.

    When It’s Dehumanizing, Don’t Force Premature Gratitude

    When It’s Dehumanizing, It’s When Gratitude Doesn’t Work
    Photographer: Randy Jacob | Source: Unsplash

    So I think in our quest for growth, we have to mature past that kind of dehumanizing cheerfulness of positive thinking that can pressure us to be grateful for all things always. As if anytime we’re not grateful, we’re at fault. So finding deeper gratitude when we’re also acknowledging what feels wrong, that’s a good thing.

    That’s a great thing. But so often we tell ourselves that if we’re not feeling grateful, then we’re not in a good space. When we chloroform our innate sense of discrimination, that leads to self-doubt, not enlightenment. So often the opposite of what we think of as gratitude isn’t ingratitude, it’s self-love.

    So many times, I’ve seen people keep trying to convince themselves to be more accepting and more patient and more disciplined to be the bigger person. But their gut-level discomfort is actually dead-on accurate. I’ve seen so many loved ones, I’ve seen myself, I’ve seen my clients, stay too long in unhealthy relationships or jobs just because they thought they weren’t strong enough or grateful enough or disciplined enough to fix things.

    So I had a dear friend, his name was Michael Clemente. I’ve talked about him before. He died of AIDS in the early ’90s and in one of his performances he announced that he had found a way to get blood from a stone. He was going to teach his audience his tried and true method perfected through years of relationships with unavailable people.

    When You Are Defined As The “Sick One” and Being Scapegoated, That’s When Gratitude Doesn’t Work

    Cultivating gratitude is wonderful, but forced gratitude clouds our judgment and creates self-doubt and self-recrimination. Sometimes, it’s much wiser to just admit that we’re hurting, that things don’t feel right, that something just has to change. In this episode, we’ll explore when gratitude really helps us and when it holds us back. And we’ll explore how to use the power of to create positive change in our lives.

    I think one of the greatest “aha moments” in my training as a psychotherapist came when I learned about the concept of “The assigned sick one.” So in unhealthy family systems, often it’s the most sensitive child who takes on that role, and that child registers what’s broken in the family and can’t bear that awareness.

    So she or he tries countless ways of calling for help, and a lot of them are immature, unhelpful, convulsive, and that strengthens the family’s case that the sick one is the problem.

    But in many ways the sick one is the wise one, even though she or he probably feels broken, weak, constantly angry, anything but wise, it’s a healthy family that finally becomes brave enough to listen to the painful callings of this sick one. When that happens, the family can begin to heal.

    Inhumane and Relentless Positivity

    So I think that all of us have a healthy sick one inside and that’s the part of us that says something is wrong when the rest of our mind says, “Keep pushing. Try harder, be more grateful, don’t weaken.” And in the face of that kind of inhumane and relentless positivity, we’re left feeling broken or weak or flawed in some irreparable essential way.

    So at the risk of real oversimplification and also not including cases of active addiction or untreated mental disorders, we feel good when important things feel right in our lives, and we register that rightness with feelings of peace or gratification or stability.

    When things feel wrong, we feel empty or sad or hurting. To a large degree, we really can trust those simple feelings and use them to lead us out of painful situations into more fulfilling ones.

    I know for me that the recognition that all the ways that I registered wrongness inside were in so many cases not weakness but a deeper truth. I came from a family that was filled with things like that.

    But I also came from a family that was ultimately willing to listen to my calls of what felt broken and how I felt broken in the family and begin to shift and have all of us kind of look at and own our own stuff. But that took a lot of work and certainly years and years and years of my life feeling like the sick one, like the crazy one, like the wrong one.

    When It Feels Bad in the Heart, That’s When Gratitude Doesn’t Work

    When It Feels Bad in the Heart, That’s When Gratitude Doesn’t Work
    Photographer: Christopher Paul High | Source: Unsplash

    So I also know that in day-to-day life, it’s so easy when I feel, or when other people feel, kind of that sense of emptiness, that sense of wrongness, that sense of grinding inside, that sense of rushing too hard or not grabbing onto life, whatever the sense is. It just feels bad.

    It feels bad in the body. It feels bad in the heart, and it’s so easy to pretend that that’s not going on. But I really think that one of our greatest acts of beauty is when we can say, “There’s something broken here. There’s something wrong here. There’s a hole here, and I can feel that, and then I can listen to it.”

    And I think this happens in many places in our lives and definitely happens in intimate relationships. I know for me in looking at my life when I’ve been in a situation where again and again I kept telling myself that I should be stronger, that I should be a better person, that I should be a bigger person, that I should be more patient, that I shouldn’t be swayed or controlled or manipulated or frightened in ways that I have been. When I kept saying that same thing to myself, those were always signs that I was not being honest with myself.

    Learning To Listen to Ourselves Helps Us Realize When Gratitude Doesn’t Work

    The poet, Audre Lorde, said this wonderfully. She said,

    When I lived through pain without recognizing it consciously, I robbed myself of the power that can come from using that pain, the power to fuel some movement beyond it.

    So there’s the worry then that if we just kind of completely go along with and give room for our annoyance, our anger, our needs, that we can almost be kind of narcissistic, it can become all about us and everything we need and we don’t learn the greater skills of acceptance and that’s a risk.

    There are risks on both sides. That’s why it’s truly, truly an art. But I think that when we really learn to listen to ourselves and the things that feel wrong, we equally realize what is our stuff. We apologize more frequently. We just have more room to own it. Because when we tell ourselves not to feel what we’re feeling when something is wrong, we do one of two things.

    We push our energy and our power down and we become weakened. Or we become strident and angry and kind of immature in our responses. It’s like pushing the beach ball down, and then ultimately, it has to pop up.

    So there’s a bravery in admitting that things aren’t right. In , first and foremost, admitting to ourselves, “Things don’t feel right, and I have to do something about it,” and it’s bravery too to speak about that in our relationships.

    When A Deeper Issue Is Ignored And Needs to Be Honored, That’s When Gratitude Doesn’t Work

    And as I said before, I know countless people that are in relationships that don’t feel right. They stay because they keep telling themselves, “Maybe I’m asking for too much. Maybe I need too much.” And when we’re in a situation where we keep telling ourselves that and it doesn’t work, that means that something deeper that is off needs to be looked at and honored because it’s real and it’s true.

    And there’s power in that, and there’s healing in that. There’s also a tremendous amount of pain which is why having someone else to talk to, why having meditation, why having tools like tapping or visualization, or the Inner Mentor™ process, which I teach in episode three, why these things help so incredibly.

    And as Vito Russo said, “The truth will set you free, but first, it will make you miserable.” So I want to honor the worth of that miserable state of those feelings that just hurt and don’t feel right because there’s greatness. There’s a kind of greatness on the other side of facing that and acknowledging that, in a way that’s not reactive but holds truth and gets to really reflect on, “What’s wrong here. What feels broken here? I’m not going to fool myself about that anymore.”

    When There’s Bitterness, That’s When Gratitude Doesn’t Work

    When There’s Bitterness, That’s When Gratitude Doesn’t Work
    Photographer: Phước Lộc | Source: Unsplash

    That’s something that you can do right now while listening to this podcast. You could even take a moment and pause it to think, “what am I telling myself is okay, but my intuition, my gut says, ‘This isn’t okay. This is not right.’ Where am I pretending there’s not an emptiness inside? Where am I pretending that if I just did things differently, I wouldn’t feel badly in this relationship again and again?”

    So I think that the traps of bitterness and forced gratitude are equally unwise. And the art is being able to hold the reality of what doesn’t feel good and then be able to work with that in a way that is resilient and can find the places of gratitude, but then not going to be the ones we told ourselves that we were supposed to be grateful for. So as Leonard Cohen said in his song Anthem, “Forget your perfect offering. There’s a crack in everything, and that’s how the light gets in.” That is so true for us.

    The places where we feel the most broken often don’t need to be fixed. What they need is to be heard.

    So I know this episode was a little bit shorter, but I think I said the pieces that I wanted to say. So I want to thank you all for listening. I want to encourage you to go to deeperdatingpodcast.com and sign up for my mailing list if you like what you heard here, and I look forward to seeing you on the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.

  • 5 Simple Shifts That Will Speed Your Path to Love [EP068]

    In this episode, you’ll learn 5 simple shifts that will speed your path to love–and help you learn deeper self-love and authentic, unforced confidence. These tips may fly in the face of much of what you’ve been taught about dating, but they have the power to truly transform your search for love, save you huge amounts of time, and deepen your capacity to nurture the love that’s in your future!

    Episode Table of Contents

    Episode Introduction: Your Path to Love

    Your Path to Love

    There are six tools and one very, very profound insight that absolutely transforms our search for love and change our lives as well. Stay tuned to this episode of the Deeper Dating podcast to learn those tools and this insight.

    Hello, and welcome to the Deeper Dating podcast. I’m Ken Page, and I’m a psychotherapist, the author of Deeper Dating, and the host of this podcast. Today, I’m going to share with you some very powerful, wonderful, and simple tools that really will change the way you search for love and change your relationship to your intimacy journey in some very important ways.

    This week and every week I’m going to offer you the greatest skills I know to help you find beautiful, nourishing love and keep it flourishing in your life. Because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of intimacy. And the skills of intimacy are the greatest and most important skills of all for a happy and rich life.

    If you want to learn more about the Deeper Dating path to real intimacy, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com. There, you can sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get some free gifts, including an eBook and you’ll learn more about how to use these ideas to transform your own intimacy journey, and you’ll find a transcript of this and every other episode. And you’ll get to hear about my new downloadable course, which takes you through the entire Deeper Dating journey, step-by-step with my kind of much more close and personal guidance.

    I also want to say that everything that I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not treatment or medication, or psychological advice. If you’re experiencing any serious psychological or psychiatric conditions, please seek professional help.

    Subscribe and Leave Ken a Review

    Subscribe and Leave Ken a Review
    Leave Ken a Review

    If you like what you’re learning here, it would be a fabulous gift to me if you could subscribe and leave me a review. Some of the reviews that I’ve gotten are just so incredibly touching, and I really appreciate them. If you’d like to leave one too, that would be great. Okay, let’s jump in. This is an exciting episode today, and I’m really glad to be sharing this with you.

    I’m going to be offering you about six different specific tips that will all tie in together and really make a huge difference. They also turn your search for love into an adventure of growth and healing, as you’ll see. And then, I’m going to talk about a very kind of deep, deep concept about what the broadest, broadest, truest journey, as I understand it, of intimacy really is, and that’ll connect to the tools that I give you in the beginning. I’m just going to jump right in.

    The first one is allowing yourself the bravery of being your authentic self. It sounds simple, sounds sweet, sounds corny, sounds pat. It’s brave. It’s brave to do that. The experience of sharing who we are in our heart, letting people see it, finding that place of flow where we’re really connected with who we are, and being that person in another person’s presence is an act of intimacy unto itself. And doing that gives a message that we’re comfortable in our own skin.

    Your Path to Love Is a Journey to Be Who You Truly Are

    Your Path to Love Is a Journey to Be Who You Truly Are
    Photographer: NeONBRAND | Source: Unsplash

    But here’s the funny thing. So much dating advice tells us, “Yeah, definitely, absolutely be authentic. Be authentic.” But then you also have to really be masculine enough, or you have to be feminine enough, or got to act confident, or just throw in some good flirting in there, or whatever it is that it tells us. And it’s impossible to be authentic and something other than yourself at the same time. It’s very crazy-making advice to be told, “Be authentic, but be something other than you are.” So much dating advice fits into that category.

    What you want to be is you, and it’s brave, because then when you are you, it’s impossible to say how much time and heartache you save by doing that. Because, when you’re not you, the people who are looking for someone like you will miss you. They won’t see you. They won’t notice you.

    Your beauty is not going to shine, because it can’t shine when you’re being something other than yourself. And also the other thing that happens is that people who have a need to step on someone who’s not secure, but is pretending to be secure and confident, those people will gravitate towards you.

    So, so many reasons why it’s an act of quiet violence against your being and your future to be anything other than the amazing and authentic being that you really are. And to just look for the people who love that. Because there’s a million people who won’t, but they’re not the people you want. That’s concept number one. It’s one that I’ve talked about a lot in this podcast.

    A Crippling Scrutiny Based on Fear

    This is another fabulous one. This is what I call squinting. I know, for me, for many, many, many years there was a crippling self-scrutiny but also a crippling scrutiny of other people based on fear, based on insecurity, based on my own self-judgment that made me say no to a lot of people, look down on people, judge people, step away from people who might’ve been wonderful. Because of this hair trigger judgmental quality that I had that was based on a deep fear of being hurt.

    So many of us have this, and the culture also supports it in saying, “You’ve got to look for someone who is X, Y and Z, and is going to look this way and that way, and has to accessorize right,” or whatever it is. So, this is the concept, it’s squinting. If you have ever seen an artist work on a portrait, you might notice that sometimes they squint. I asked an artist once why she did that, and she said,

    “I do it, because when I squint, I don’t notice the harsh outlines of the subject as much anymore. I kind of notice the subject’s spirit, and I’m not distracted by the outlines, by the exterior. I kind of can capture the spirit a little bit more.”

    So when we date, when it comes to things like outfits, weight, age, I mean, I’ll say this now, and like I say it a million times, you can’t make yourself attracted to someone you’re not attracted to, nor should you try to do that.

    Squint and Soften Your Path to Love

    But if someone is somewhere in the range and you just don’t like their outfit, or you don’t like their music, or their laugh irritates you, or they’re three years or five years or eight years or 10 years your junior or senior, or junior or senior to the age range that you’re looking at, and you say “no” for those reasons, they live too far away……

    They don’t have the education that maybe you thought was so important that your partner had, even though they have a lot of smarts. Whatever it is, those are areas where we need to squint. We need to soften that judgment.

    Because when we go into a dating event, well, I know when I used to go into dating situations, that hair trigger part of me was so activated, so ready to tell me that I’m not enough, and so ready to tell me that the other person was not enough, and the amount of tears and suffering and pain that came from that hair trigger response was pretty endless. But actually, that’s inaccurate.

    That pain didn’t come from that hair trigger response, because I can’t control that hair trigger response. It came from listening to that hair trigger response. So when we notice that hair trigger response, and we say, “You know what? Maybe that was a little too quick of a judgment. I could feel that inside.” We soften, and we squint, and we look at the kind of spirit of this person.

    Taking the Next Step of Your Path to Love

    Taking the Next Step of Your Path to Love
    Photographer: sippakorn yamkasikorn | Source: Unsplash

    And over time when we do that, if the person is a match but doesn’t fit the kind of qualifications we thought we had to have, over time, the nature of the connection will overtake and eclipse those original kind of judgements and assumptions – if it’s a good match. And research backs up that this is really true, as well. So, that’s the second thing. It’s squinting.

    When you’re with someone, if things bug you, or make you say, “This person is just out of the framework of someone I would date,” but you’re kind of attracted to them, there’s a spark, there’s a goodness, there’s a quality you really like, squint. Squint. It doesn’t mean you’re going to marry them.

    It means you’re going to take the next step in getting to know them, and you’re not going to let hair trigger fear which manifests as some kind of judgementalness, which you think is truth, take you away from the possibility of potentially a really wonderful, sweet relationship. I know that the inability to do that kept me from love for decades. So that’s the other tool that I want to offer.

    Now I’m going to mention another one. It’s about enthusiasm. You meet someone, let’s say you’re really excited by them. For me and for so many people, that’s been kind of a quandary. Because you feel enthusiastic, but you feel like, “Well, I don’t want to overwhelm this person. I should probably play a little bit hard to get, I don’t want to show this enthusiasm. I don’t want to be such a gust of wind that I blow out this new flame of their potential growing interest in me.”

    Treasuring Your Enthusiasm

    Here’s what I want to say about enthusiasm. There’s only one thing that works when it comes to you being enthusiastic about someone new, and that is to treasure your enthusiasm. Now, that does not mean that you want to lose track of their signals and their cues, because often in the beginning when one of us is feeling very enthusiastic, the other might be feeling a little bit more shy or timid.

    Maybe both of you feel enthusiastic. Still, you want to go carefully. You want to go slowly. You want to get to know the person. Probably better not to have sex too early. We’ll talk about that in a little bit. But if you don’t treasure your enthusiasm, here’s what’s going to happen, you’re going to be ashamed of it. It’s going to turn into a feeling, and you’ll press it down. You’ll press it down, and when you press it down, and if you’re too good at pressing it down and keeping it there, that’s not a great sign.

    Most of us though press it down and then it kind of comes out sideways in a little bit of an embarrassing way or not the best way. That’s what happens when we are ashamed. We kind of press it down. We think we shouldn’t have it. We become awkward.

    If instead, we honor that sense of enthusiasm, we take pleasure in it, we delight in it, it’s a wonderful thing to be that enthusiastic about someone. It’s a great, great thing. If we honor that enthusiasm, we will be more capable of pivoting and creating, and not necessarily overwhelming the person with our enthusiasm, but not being ashamed of it.

    The Wisdom Path

    Because, being ashamed of our enthusiasm leads nowhere good. It’s a delicate, delicate thing, but you want to honor your enthusiasm. You want to show your enthusiasm too. And you can show it in conscious, wonderful ways by letting the person know about qualities that you like about them.

    You don’t want to overwhelm them. You want to be sensitive. If you’re showing your enthusiasm is coming out of a need to get them to say positive things to, and they’re not really saying positive things back yet, those are behaviors that you kind of need to hold back on a little.

    Because one of the greatest gifts you can give another person is a sense of space. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t have a right to honor and delight in your enthusiasm. Is that a little complicated? Yes. But it’s a wisdom path and wisdom paths always take a little bit of work and growth and development. So, honor your enthusiasm.

    The research about playing hard to get is this. It’s something I’ve talked about before. The research shows that if you play hard to get, the person, in some cases, might want you more, temporarily. But they will like you less. So it is better not to play hard to get but to show your enthusiasm and your pleasure in someone, but in a way that honors your sense of their space needs.

    Values-Based Events and Communities Open Your Path to Love

    Values-Based Events and Communities Open Your Path to Love
    Photographer: Jed Villejo | Source: Unsplash

    Eli Finkel, who did a lot of great research on this very subject in speed dating events, kind of says that the thing to do is to somehow give the message that it’s not that you’re just looking for anybody, it’s that certain particular things really matter to you, and you see those in this person, and that is exciting and wonderful to you. That is very positive. People respond to that. It’s like an aphrodisiac to be able to do that. Once again, it’s connected to honoring your enthusiasm in this journey and your delight in meeting someone new who seems wonderful.

    Now I’m going to skip to something kind of really different. I say it all the time. All the time. I’m going to say it again. Values-based events and communities are the best place to meet people, in general. Of course, you might meet someone on the street. You might meet someone on a dating site that has nothing to do with values-based anything. But you still meet them that way. All those things are possible.

    But when you’re at an event with people who share your values, your passions, and your interests, you will glow. You will shine. You will feel in some way at home. And hence, the person you’re going to be is going to be a broader, more open, more delightful, more connected version of you. The quality in the atmosphere in events like this invites connection and closeness.

    So, now we can’t be doing that in person, but there are so many ways to do that virtually. Looking up keywords in dating sites when you’re searching for people you’re interested in, where those keywords match the values that you’re interested in.

    A MiracleGro for Our Fear

    Finding online communities in areas that you’re interested in. Dating websites that are niche for people who are interested in what you’re interested in. But I can’t tell you what a great and powerful tip that is to speed things up in your search for love.

    Here’s the last one. The last one is to wait with sex. Now, for some people, they can have sex right away, and it’ll be fabulous, and it’ll be bringing them much closer. And it’ll be something that cements the beginning of their relationship. This is not a moralistic thing.

    But for most of us, sex without a level of safety that matches the physical intimacy is like MiracleGro for our fear. What happens really often when we have sex too early, is one person feels needy, clingy, insecure, and the other person feels like, “I’m out of here. I’m going.” Because it’s just this awkward thing of this huge aperture of being, this deep, deep openness and vulnerability on a physical level. And then you see the person and the connection has nowhere near match that and it’s just like more comfortable to get away. Those are two things that can happen.

    Because when our level of safety doesn’t match our level of physical connection, there’s a great risk of that happening. That I think is particularly true for highly sensitive people. It’s not true for everybody. And if it’s not true for you, and you can really have sex right away and still be available for full-on intimacy, more power to you. But most of us trick ourselves to think that we can do that, when in fact we can’t.

    The Part of Us That Needs to Be Stronger

    And alcohol and drugs really help us have sex too quickly. That’s why it’s not a great idea to get really intoxicated in early dating. I mean, it’s not such a great idea to get really intoxicated ever. But in early dating it’s especially, in some ways, particularly important.

    Those were some kind of very nitty gritty, and I think, wonderful and important and positive tools to help you truly transform the way you search for love and turn it into an adventure of growth that really works. Try these things. You will experience deep growth, opening, and shifts in the way you date.

    But now I want to shift to kind of a more meta thing, something very kind of big and deep. It’s about a way of understanding our intimacy journey. As we take this conscious, deeper intimacy journey, there’s a way in which one part of us really needs to soften, and another part of us really needs to become stronger.

    I’ll talk first about the part that needs to soften. All of us hold on tight against the pain of being hurt, against the pain of having the rug pulled out from under us, having the ball dropped by the other person. Also, we become kind of toughened and tightened just by the pace of life and the demands of life where we have to kind of squeeze tight in order to get through and get stuff done.

    We all do that. And when we do that, especially when we get easily afraid or we get defensive, we push intimacy away, but we don’t even know we’re doing it. We’re just goal focused. We’re just protection focused. We don’t even know that we’re doing it.

    A Beautiful Sadness You Carry on Your Path to Love

    A Beautiful Sadness You Carry on Your Path to Love
    Photographer: Annie Spratt | Source: Unsplash

    This is something that I think during this kind of sheltering at home period where there’s a little more time, we can allow ourselves to soften in some ways a little bit more and feel the things that are kind of on the shoulder of the road of our being that we don’t normally let ourselves feel or acknowledge or sense. And when we do that, we soften, and when we soften, amazing stuff happens.

    Sometimes there’s a sadness, but that sadness is a beautiful sadness, because it’s the sadness that we carry in our heart that is our humanity. I know for me, when I’m in touch with my sadness, I’m an inch away from my love. And I know that when I’m stressed or kind of outwardly focused, and when my defensive structures lock in, I don’t feel my sadness. I just keep thinking about what’s next, what has to be done. I become impatient. For me, when I feel sadness, it’s a harbinger. It’s a mark of being closer to my soul.

    So we may feel sadness, we may feel longing, we may feel joy. We get wisps of inspiration and guidance, but that only happens when our defensive ways of being soften. And that’s when inspiration leaks through. That’s when inspiration begins to just kind of hit us in different ways, so there’s a softening that needs to happen. Or when we’re with someone and we like them and we don’t want to show them that we like them, we feel vulnerable or scared. Brene Brown said something so wonderful. She says,

    “Vulnerability is the last thing we want to show, and it’s the first thing we look for in another person.”

    Different Techniques to Soften the Defensive Structures

    When we’re in that kind of a state and we’re not softened, we will miss so many wisdom cues and we’ll miss so many love cues. And when we soften, we will feel the wisdom cues, and the love cues, and the intimacy cues that we otherwise might miss. So anything that helps us soften.

    I know for me, I do tapping. I keep saying I’m going to do this, and I haven’t done it yet, but I’m going to do some episodes to teach people tapping. It’s a wonderful, wonderful technique. You can just go to YouTube and look up Dawson Church or Nick Ortner and learn a lot more about tapping that way. That’s something I use.

    I use meditation, lots of different things, lots of different techniques. The Inner Mentor™ technique, which you can learn on, I believe it’s podcast three, is an incredible technique to help you tune into that softened place, your own inner wisdom and intuition. Whatever techniques you use, maybe it’s just giving yourself space in life. Whatever you can do that helps you soften that defensive structure and feel the softness of your being, you’re giving yourself an indescribably invaluable gift.

    That’s the softening piece, but then there’s a strengthening piece too, and that’s around strengthening our discrimination. We move into a really different zone here. And that is when we’re in interaction with people, especially when our insides are softened so that we can feel the subtler winds of experience. We sense when things feel safe, when things feel nourishing, when things feel cold, when they feel scary, when they feel not right, when we start getting insecure, where we feel ashamed, et cetera, et cetera.

    The Big Question

    We sense those things. That’s the quality of discrimination where we can actually feel the big question and this is what I teach, is the biggest number one question. If you’re looking for really wonderful love, the question is, does my soul feel safe with this person? Of course, there’s a million other questions, but when we lead with that question, our world changes period, the end, unequivocally and amazingly true.

    So often we tell ourselves, “I’m just being too sensitive. I have to get over this,” when we’re with someone who is kind of like criticizing us, or somehow devaluing us, or maybe not able to listen to what we say, and give us a sense that these very personal things we’re saying are actually held, heard and cherished. And so we tell ourselves, “I’m being too sensitive. I have to try harder. I have to give more. I have to forgive. I have to let this go,” et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, and we lose the track of our clarity.

    I heard it described in a wonderful book for psychotherapists, it was a book called the Uses of Countertransference. He said, “As therapists, we need to really notice the exquisite nuances of what we feel when we’re with a client, because those tell us so much.” And sometimes we don’t listen to that. We say, “Maybe that’s my stuff. I’m not going to listen to that.” “But if we do that too often,” he says, “it’s like someone who is a safe cracker who loses the sensitivity of their fingers, where they can hear those tiny, tiny clicks that help them unlock the safe.”

    Your Path to Love Requires Trusting Your Discrimination

    Your Path to Love Requires Trusting Your Discrimination
    Photographer: Skye Studios | Source: Unsplash

    For us, listening to the tiny clicks; clicks of nourishment, clicks of disappointment, clicks of hurt, and honoring those is really an act of strengthening of self. The piece that I think needs to get stronger is trusting our discrimination. When I look at the kind of broad vision of kind of the many, many, many people that I’ve worked with in my private practice, and in my courses and classes and intensives, I think that more people discount their discrimination, then people overreact based on their discrimination.

    Not that that doesn’t happen too, almost as much, but I think the bigger issue is the not listening to the subtle registering of what feels right and what doesn’t feel right. What feels safe to our soul and what doesn’t. So that’s an area that needs to be strengthened. But this takes so much wisdom, and that’s why the skills of dating are really the skills of love. Because, where is it that it’s discrimination and where is it that it’s actually a reflexive, judgemental quality to protect ourselves? Where is it really that we’re being forgiving and open and accepting in a good way?

    Where is it that we’re accepting something that we shouldn’t be accepting? That’s why this truly is a wisdom journey. That’s why I deeply encourage people to take on different practices that will help you find your own inner wisdom. Like the Inner Mentor™ process helps me every single day, and that’s episode three. It helps me every single day to figure out what’s intuition and what’s defense. My friends do that as well and that’s another place.

    Your Path to Love Is a Rich Intimacy Journey

    Our friends who have wisdom and really truly love us, five minutes with them will be the equivalent of an hour of trying to figure things out on our own in many, many cases. The importance of being able to talk to friends who know us and trust us is amazing. Practices to help us get in touch with our intuition. That’s why this is an intimacy journey and such a rich intimacy journey.

    We’ve talked about so many things today. And I want to just encourage you to just take a minute now and think, what one thing hits you the most? Just hold that to your heart and hold it to your intentions, because that’s your baby. If you take that out of here and do something with that, results will absolutely come your way.

    Thank you for listening. So glad to be with you again, and I look forward to seeing you in the next episode of the Deeper Dating podcast. And remember, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com, and when you go there, if you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get a free gift of an eBook called The Five Keys to Deeper Dating. You can also get the first two chapters of my book, Deeper Dating, which teach you how to discover your core gifts, something else we’ve talked about a lot in this podcast. Thank you again so much and have a great week.

  • The Stunning Power of The Qualities You Hide In Love [EP067]

    There truly is stunning power in the qualities you hide in your love relationships. These parts feel most tender, most passionate, most central to our inner lives. When we learn to appreciate and champion these “Core Gifts” our worlds change–and our search for love moves toward available people who love us for who we are. In this episode, you’ll discover your most central Core Gifts in the parts of yourself you hide.

    Table of Contents

    Episode Introduction: The Qualities You Hide

    The Qualities You Hide

    Did you know that the part of yourself that you’re the most timid to reveal in your love life actually holds the key to one of your greatest core gifts in romance? Stay tuned to this episode of the Deeper Dating podcast to learn what your core gift is.

    Hello everybody and welcome to The Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist and the author of the book Deeper Dating. I’m the host of this podcast and the creator of the Deeper Dating online course.

    Today we’re going to talk about something really profound and really important and very usable. It’s the part of yourself that you’re most timid to show in your romantic relationships and is actually connected to your deepest core gifts. When you know how that’s true, your relationship life begins to change and your dating life changes in powerful ways.

    This week and every week, I’m going to share with you the greatest tools that I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love and the skills of love are the greatest skills in life.

    And if you want to learn more about the deeper dating path to real intimacy, just go to deeperdatingpodcast.com and if you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get free gifts and you’ll learn more about how to use these ideas to transform your own intimacy journey.

    Subscribe and Leave Ken a Review

    Subscribe and Leave Ken a Review
    Leave Ken a Review

    And you’ll also get a complete transcript of this episode and every other episode. Finally, you’ll get to learn about my new downloadable course where I get to guide you step by step through the entire deeper dating journey.

    I also want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It is not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment for any condition and if you’re experiencing any concerning psychological or psychiatric symptoms, please seek professional help. And finally, if you like what you’re learning here, it would be a fabulous thank you if you subscribed and left me a review.

    If this message touches your heart, please share it with someone who you think would also appreciate it. So thank you so much for all of that and let’s dive in now.

    In the work that I teach, what I’ve come to discover and what I believe more and more deeply all the time is that the parts of ourselves that have been least understood, most taken advantage of and have kind of gotten us into the most trouble or that we feel the most insecure about actually connect to our greatest gifts, what I call our core gifts.

    And in my courses, in everything I do in my book, I spend so much time helping people be able to name and identify their core gifts. So what are core gifts?

    Core gifts are the places you feel the most deeply.

    The Qualities You Hide Within the Center of a Target

    The Qualities You Hide Within the Center of a Target
    Photographer: Tiko Giorgadze | Source: Unsplash

    If you imagine a target and you imagine that the closer you get into the center of the target, the closer you’re getting into the very essence of your being, the true you. The place where you feel and care the most. The place where the deepest kind of almost uncountable dimensions of wisdom are available to you, but also where you can be hurt the most deeply because you are so much more at stake.

    And the further out you get in this target, the more you become a kind of airbrushed defended version of yourself. In this work and on this path, we come to realize that those core parts of ourselves that I call our core gift, that we often learned we had to suppress or hide or cover in order to survive, are actually the key to the greatest meaning in life and to our success in our creativity, in our profession, in our relationships, in our relationship with ourself and definitely also in our search for love.

    And this is such a powerful and rich concept. Today, I’m going to be talking with you about one way to discover your core gifts. One particular core gift that I think is going to be one of the most important ones in your own personal journey and your search for love.

    When this core gift is named and when it’s honored and treasured, you will see profound, profound shifts happen in your own inner organization, in the people you’re attracted to, in the people who are attracted to you and in the way that you live your life.

    Different Processes to Discover the Qualities You Hide

    So that’s obviously a really big deal. In my course we spend a lot of time looking for what our core gifts are. There are a number of different processes that we do to help people discover their core gifts. But there’s one process that we do for one particular, kind of one way in to look at this.

    That is this – it’s thinking about what’s the part of myself that I am the most shy or timid or vulnerable around revealing in romance and in love, in sex, in intimacy. What’s the part of myself that’s really me but it just feels too tender, too vulnerable, maybe too passionate, maybe too generous, maybe too wild, maybe too quiet, maybe too tender.

    And I’m going to talk about why this is so. but whatever that quality is, the degree to which you cherish it, the degree to which you cherish that part of you, the degree to which you honor it and dignify it is the degree to which you’re going to find people who also honor it and cherish it and the degree to which you’re going to find yourself, your true essential self in love and in life.

    So there’s something nuclear about the parts of ourselves that we’re shy about revealing. Why? Because within that lies a core gift that we haven’t been taught by life, how to honor and treasure and validate and it’s the secret, it’s the secret to self-love.

    The Secret to Self Love

    It’s kind of a real secret in life to learn to find the gift in that place and that’s what we’re going to do today. By the end of this episode, you will have an idea of what that attribute is and you’ll have a deeper sense of why it is actually a profound gift, and this is actually a formula.

    The degree to which you honor that part of you is the degree to which you will be happier in love. You will make better choices in love. And the degree to which you feel ashamed, ambivalent, you hide that part of yourself. You’re controlled by the shame and the trauma around people who have not treated that part of you well. To that degree that you experience shame and hide it.

    To that degree, you’re going to be sexually and romantically attracted to people who aren’t good for you or you’re going to just hide from love. So this is an amazing formula and it’s true and you’ll understand that more as we go on. But I’m just going to stop for a minute and talk about just kind of a little bit of the theory. This is the deeper physics of dating I think and why is that so?

    A Sense of Great Awe for the Qualities You Hide

    A Sense of Great Awe for the Qualities You Hide
    Photographer: Dino Reichmuth | Source: Unsplash

    And this is where I have a sense of great awe. Like I have a sense that there is a blueprint, a really deep blueprint for how this stuff works which is very benevolent and very powerful and designed to lead us to wisdom once we get this.

    Sadly, it brings us so much pain until we get it. Carl Jung talked about why this is so and what he said was,

    “We all have parts of ourselves that we don’t kind of know what to do with. Maybe we judge them, we’re ashamed of them.”

    They’re really authentically us, but we feel awkward about them. And there’s so much about why we feel awkward about these parts, but I’ll just say a few reasons and this is a huge, huge subject.

    One reason is we weren’t taught to honor these parts of ourselves. These parts of ourselves are our genius and genius ain’t easy. The world is afraid of things that are too tender. The world is afraid of things that are too fierce. The world is afraid of things that are too original. Also, sometimes people milk us for these qualities, these gifts that we have.

    They see them and they take advantage of them and that’s also a traumatic experience. Another reason why is because these parts of ourselves are challenging to us. They’re kind of bigger or deeper than we are. So we don’t know what to do with them and it’s a life’s work learning to bear the humanity, the beauty, the radiance, the ferocity, the truth of these parts of ourselves.

    What Swirls Around the Qualities You Hide

    It’s not an easy thing. And the last reason, and I know there’s so much here, but it’s just, it’s such rich, rich content and such exciting stuff, but the last reason is because these parts of ourselves are so highly charged, we tend to make a lot of mistakes around them.

    We kind of have car crashes, our deepest immaturities swirl around our greatest gifts. So for example, let’s say you have a quality of a fierce love of truth, right?

    So you’ve got this quality where truth is really important to you in relationships. And you grow up in a family where it’s really important for people not to have the truth spoken.

    You speak the truth and you get really punished for that. No one wants to hear it. You get told that there’s something wrong with you. You’re over-sensitive, you’re too much. You are hurting people’s feelings.

    If you tell the truth to someone who’s a narcissist, a parent who’s a narcissist, you’re going to get in big, big trouble, if that truth doesn’t meet their emotional needs.

    When this occurs, we then go in one of two different directions essentially. We either suppress that part of ourselves which is not good. It’s an act of quiet violence against our being.

    So maybe you just don’t speak your truth and that’s not a good thing because it kind of burns inside of you.

    Developing a Love Relationship With the Qualities You Hide

    It might make you angry, it might make you withdrawn. It might make you avoid deep intimacy for fear of being hurt in the same ways. Or potentially, if you don’t suppress it, you might act it out – which is to express that truth in ways that are angry, holding the kind of build-up anger and strident qualities of a lifetime of having them pushed down.

    And so then when we act them out, we get in trouble too because we hurt people and we get hurt back. So these are just some of the different reasons why there’s such a scary charge around our deepest gifts.

    And now, not like you can get rid of these things, they’re there, but the key is to develop a love relationship with that core gift. To be able to see the beauty in it, to honor and name the gift underneath all of that hurt, underneath those bad experiences. And to be able to say there is a treasured gift here.

    That’s the beginning of an overthrow. That’s the beginning of a beautiful revolution of healing inside our being. And when you do that, you will watch your romantic life change in the most amazing, amazing ways.

    So in a minute, I’m going to help you identify a core gift in a place where you have been timid to reveal who you really are. We’re going to do that in a moment through a series of very kind of wonderful questions. But first, I just want to go back to Carl Jung and just explain how this connects to his work.

    The Shadow

    So Carl Jung said that there are these parts of ourselves that we’ve just talked about where we are ashamed or frightened to reveal these parts of ourselves. These then get suppressed and they become our shadow and that’s what he called “The Shadow.”

    The shadow is the part of ourselves that we just don’t think is okay so we push it away.

    And what he said is, all of that energy of that authentic self that we’re pressing down, ignoring, avoiding, not giving a vote at the voting table, denying will then turn into situations and relationships in our life that crushed us, that hurt us, that leave us feeling insecure.

    In other words, those shadow parts take on a kind of semi-monstrous form and attack us in our life. So in the land of dating, the qualities that are so deeply you that you don’t show, if you are ashamed of them, and if you suppress them, you will probably end up attracted to people who hurt you right in those very places.

    Jung talked about the need to embrace and integrate those shadow qualities. That’s just what we’re talking about here. Because the quality that you’re going to name in the next section of this episode is going to be a shadow quality which is a core gift and as you come to name it more deeply and love it more fully, it won’t be kind of attacking you from the outside.

    In fact, you’re going to be more likely to find people who treasure it. So let’s do this right now. I’m going to ask you some questions and I’d like you to think about your answer to each question.

    Questions That Reveal the Qualities You Hide

    Questions That Reveal the Qualities You Hide
    Photographer: Jules Bss | Source: Unsplash

    I’m just going to pause a little bit after each question. If you want more time, absolutely pause this recording, write down your answers, think about your answers. Maybe you’re taking a walk or a run or you’re in the car and you could just take some time, pause it and then think. Or maybe you just want to take this kind of moment or two that I’m going to leave in between the questions and just see what comes up for you.

    But we’re going to do that right now. So I would like to ask you, what’s a part of your personality that you suppress or you feel hesitant or timid to reveal in your romantic life?

    Now, I am not talking about an incident that happened to you that might’ve been shameful or difficult or traumatic. I’m not talking about a part of your life that might be difficult to share.

    I’m talking about an attribute of your personality, a part of who you are, and I’m going to give you some different examples. For me, a quality that I tend to be ashamed of is an effusiveness of spirit. Like a love that feels really big that makes me silly and huge and demonstrative.

    I have shame and embarrassment around that. So in my love relationships, it’s work to be able to say, “I’m going to get behind that and celebrate that and be that.” Because there’s a kind of ring of fire of embarrassment that I feel.

    The Different Needs That Suppress the Core Gifts

    Another one is need. That’s another one for me when I have a feeling of need. When I want to lean into someone, when I have a need for whatever that is, that’s a shameful, embarrassing feeling. That’s one that I maybe hold back on.

    Some people have a fierceness of character that they are ashamed of showing. Some people have a need for a deep, deep sense of trust that they might be embarrassed to show. Some people might need a lot of communication and they feel embarrassed that their partner won’t be able to handle that.

    Some people need reassurance. Some people have a generosity that they don’t want to show because it’s been taken advantage of. Some people have a quality of needing distance and space. A kind of dignity and space that’s a real part of their being that they feel just isn’t romantic enough.

    I’m just giving a range of different examples. But I’d like you to think now about one part of your personality that you suppress or you feel hesitant or timid or ashamed to reveal when you really like someone, when you’re in a romantic relationship early on or even further into the relationship. Because I know for me those same qualities in my marriage, I’m still afraid to show my husband.

    It’s an ongoing, ongoing journey and when I’m doing my best, I show these things and I’m not ashamed. When I’m not doing as good, I suppress them and then I get defensive and prickly. So take a minute now to think about yours.

    The Fake Kind of Defensive Self

    Okay, next question. How do you behave with someone that you’re in a romantic relationship with or dating relationship with to suppress that part of you?

    Who do you become? What’s the false self that you become? Maybe it’s people pleasing, but in what way? Maybe it is just acting kind of more typical, not showing the depth of your need or your tenderness. Who’s that person, this kind of not so real person that you become to protect your true self? To not show that? To not get rejected?

    What’s the fake kind of defensive self that you create? It might not be super fake. It’s not like you’re a liar about who you are, but it’s not the deepest truth. It’s not showing your soul. And let me tell you, the difference between sort of showing who you are and really showing who you are is vast because sort of showing who you are often lacks energy.

    They say awkwardness is the compromise between impulse and inhibition. You want to show something, you inhibit it, but then you show a little of it. It’s going to be kind of awkward. It’s not going to have a lot of power. And when you really show it, there’s a generosity that can have a very powerful healing impact.

    So take a minute to think about this, what is the self that you create to not show the real part of you? Take a minute to think about that.

    Okay, so here’s an interesting question. How has life taught you that you’re not supposed to show that part of you? That this part of you is not wonderful, is not going to be treasured?

    The Antidote Question to Unveil the Qualities You Hide

    The Antidote Question to Unveil the Qualities You Hide
    Photographer: Thought Catalog | Source: Unsplash

    This is a huge question, but take a minute to just think about that. And now the antidote question, how do you feel when you’re with someone who respects and appreciates and treasures this part of you?

    Think about someone who has done that for you. Maybe not perfectly but pretty well, where to this day you could think about them and still feel good inside? Someone who has gotten the beauty of this part of you, with whom this part of you felt safe.

    Maybe there hasn’t been anyone. Then just imagine a person like that and what does it feel like? Or what do you imagine it would feel like or what has it felt like to be with someone who allows and gets and delights in this part of you?

    This is your future. That’s where you’re going. That is what you want. It’s where you’re going. So just imagine that, picture it or remember it. And now, I want you to think about that person who gets it, how would they describe it as a gift?

    How would they say or what have they said that they love about that part of you? Or just imagine someone who finally got that part of you even in its excesses, even in its immaturity, they still saw the beauty.

    Just imagine that. What would that person say the gift is here. And now, I’d like you to think about what the gift is, what the core gift is here, a love of truth, a tenderness of spirit, a deep, deep need to give, a deep need to receive.

    What Is the Sole Gift

    What for you is the gift here? Try to name it as a gift. You’ve spent so long having to see it as a curse or a burden or a strange part of you. Now you’re going to think, “What’s the sole gift here? What’s the gift?” Frame it and name it as a gift. Give that a try.

    It’s going to be a stretch, but try it and if any of you get stuck on this point, just go to deeperdatingpodcast.com and click on Ask Ken and you can leave me a question and I will help you be able to see what the gift is if you describe it.

    Last question. If you could honor and express this part of you with increasing generosity and wisdom and self-honoring, how would that lead you to deeper love and meaning in your life?

    If you actually treated this part of you as a gift, a treasure of your being, and expressed it in your romantic life and in your life, and then you started choosing people who also appreciated it, what would your life look like?

    Now, maybe you’re doing this work already, I’m sure to some degree you are, but picture it even more so. Picture a life where you’re embodying this part of you with even more bravery and compassion.

    That’s how you know where the gift lies. So what I would say to you is, this is a really big deal in your romantic life, in your dating life, in your sex life.

    A Container for Deep Love

    This is like a lever and the more you move this lever in the direction of knowing this is a gift, being only with people who don’t put you down for it, choosing those people, cultivating connection with them and living this gift more fully.

    The more you do that, the more you allow yourself to do that, the more love will work for you and I see this all the time in my intensives, in my course, in the letters that I get.

    The more you learn to treasure this attribute, to lead with it, to be this amazing you that you really are, the more you do that, the more your attractions will change, the more people you meet will be more people who can honor that. And in your relationships, the more you will be able to create healing, the less defensive you’ll be, the more truth-telling you’ll be, the more self honoring you’ll be and the more of a container for deep love you’ll be able to become.

    So this quality that you have been the most timid to reveal is actually nuclear and the more you own it and name it as a gift, the more your life will change and I’m dying to hear your stories.

    Ask Ken

    So do go to deeperdatingpodcast.com, click on Ask Ken and share your stories of what your experience is as you experiment with this. So thank you so much for listening. Give this a try, it’s deep and rich material and at the center of it, at the heart of it are your deepest gifts.

    Please feel free to share this with people who you think might appreciate it. You can go to deeperdatingpodcast.com to get each one of those questions so you could spend more time with them and I look forward to seeing you on the next episode of The Deeper Dating Podcast.

  • How To Finally Find Your People: An Interview With Jillian Richardson [EP066]

    Jillian Richardson is the author of Unlonely Planet, and she’s all about helping you to finally find your people; your tribe. She believes that bringing people together is a sacred act, and in this delightful episode, Jillian teaches how everyone–at any age and in any circumstance (including social distancing)–can find a whole new order of deeper, more joyful community. This episode is filled with tools and tips to help you find your people–online and off. I’m thrilled to share her expertise and passion with you.

    Episode Table of Contents

    Episode Introduction: Find Your People

    Find Your People

    Sometimes no matter how busy we are, how connected we are, there can still be a sense of loneliness and emptiness. Jillian Richardson, author of Unlonely Planet, is going to be talking with me in this episode and helping each one of you find out how to discover and connect with your tribe, the people who really get who you are in the world. So stay tuned to this episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.

    Hello everybody and welcome to the Deeper Dating podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist, author of the bestselling book, Deeper Dating, and your host. I’m so excited about today’s episode. I’m interviewing Jillian Richardson, author of Unlonely Planet. And Jillian is maybe the most wonderful person I know that helps people actually find their tribe in the world, to understand and honor feelings of loneliness and be able to change them in fun and exciting ways by helping people really find their community.

    This week and every week, I’m going to share the greatest tools I know and connect you with the greatest experts I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love and the skills of love are the greatest life skills of all. And if you want to learn more about the deeper dating path to real intimacy, just go to deeperdatingpodcast.com. And if you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get free gifts and you’ll learn more about how to use these ideas to transform your intimacy journey.

    Subscribe and Leave Ken a Review

    Subscribe and Leave Ken a Review

    And you’ll also find a complete transcript of this and every episode there. And you’ll also get to hear about my new downloadable course where I guide people through the entire deeper dating journey. I just want to say that everything I’m going to be sharing in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment of any sort. And if you’re experiencing serious psychological or psychiatric symptoms, please seek professional help.

    And by the way, if you like what you’re learning here, it would be a fabulous gift if you could subscribe and leave me a review. People have been leaving the most beautiful reviews and it just means the world to me and it helps me support this work. So thank you so much for that.

    Jillian Richardson
    Jillian Richardson

    With no further ado, I want to tell you a little bit about Jillian Richardson and introduce her. Jillian is a professional community builder and facilitator. She’s the author of the Unlonely Planet, a book that I adore and I encourage all of you to purchase.

    She’s also most known for being the founder of The Joy List, a weekly newsletter on a mission to make the world less lonely. That’s an amazing, amazing list. I highly recommend people to subscribe to it. She’s been sending it out every Monday morning for almost four years in New York City.

    Unlonely Planet
    Unlonely Planet

    Where Do You Find Your People and Your Tribe

    Where Do You Find Your People and Your Tribe
    Photographer: Ryoji Iwata | Source: Unsplash

    Now, outside of The Joy List, she also runs online and in-person groups for people who want more connection in their lives. She consults with companies who want to create magical events. Overall, she’s passionate about creating spaces where people can drop their walls and be vulnerable. Nothing gets her more fired up than facilitating an emotional journey.

    I just want to tell you a little bit about my relationship with Jillian. When I discovered what Jillian was doing I was so excited because in my work as a therapist and as a coach with people who are looking for more intimacy and particularly people who are looking for relationships, I know how profoundly important it is that we face our loneliness and that we begin to find our tribe, our people. Jillian calls it our congregation as well. Having those people I think is the greatest definer of a rich and meaningful life. That’s what Jillian was all about, was helping people to do this.

    I was just thrilled because her healing, her vision, is a vision that the world forgets so many times in many ways. It’s a vision that she’s passionate about living.

    Kenneth Page: Welcome, Jillian Richardson.

    Jillian Richardson: Thank you so much for having me, Ken. Thank you for such a kind introduction. Not surprised, you’re really good at them.

    Kenneth Page: Well, it’s really true. I had been hungry for a teacher from my community that teaches this because I know that for me the center of my journey to find love began with this deep recognition of my loneliness that really hurt, but it was big and important to discover.

    The Journey of Recognizing Loneliness and Finding Connection

    Kenneth Page: I think a great way to start would be for you to tell us your story and your journey, and what was your loneliness, and your journey to both address that, find connection, and then teach other people to do that too. Tell us more.

    Jillian Richardson: Thank you! To start from the very beginning, I grew up in a family like a lot of people were my parents were not taught the skills from their parents for deep emotional connection. Growing up I didn’t have the language to describe how I was feeling. I just knew that while I love my parents I didn’t feel like my emotions were okay. I didn’t feel my anger, my sadness was okay. I didn’t feel very understood. I felt really shut down in my body.

    That was just so much my normal that I didn’t know any other way of living existed. I think a thing that I forget to appreciate about my life now is that the people who know how to really listen and really be present and be honest about their own experiences of the world, they’re very rare. Growing up I didn’t see that skill modeled around me. Again, I just did not know what was possible. There was just this longing that I had in me for something more that I was unconscious of. I was filling that hole with external things.

    When I was in college, I was doing a lot of comedy. A way that I cope is I can be a workaholic. I’m the president of my school’s comedy group. I’m writing for two of my colleges’ TV shows. I have a part-time job.

    Taking the Opportunity to Change Your Life

    Jillian Richardson: I’m learning how to become a personal trainer. I’m a spin instructor at my college. I’m doing all of these obsessive things. I have an eating disorder to avoid what I don’t even know is really going on with me.

    When I left college and moved to New York City in 2015, I took it as an opportunity to change my life. I knew that something wasn’t right. At first, I did all of the things that we’re taught to do to create friends. I was going to bars and shouting at people over loud music. I had my activity friends, like the people who I did comedy with where we would kind of joke with each other. Putting all of the onus on me, I wasn’t being true about my own struggles and what was really going on for me. I wasn’t creating the conditions for intimacy.

    I kind of had this moment of just reflecting on how many things I was doing at any given time. And still when I took a pause, how deeply unhappy I felt that I made a promise to myself that for a year I would try as many new things as I could. I was going to festivals alone, to retreats alone. Eventually, I found this experience called “Camp Grounded”, which is a Digital Detox summer camp for adults.

    That means no phones, no computers, no substances, no talk about work, no talk about age. All of my coping mechanisms were taken away from me. I just had to be present and playful with other adults.

    Find Your People Who Model the Life You Want

    Find Your People Who Model the Life You Want
    Photographer: Noémi Macavei-Katócz | Source: Unsplash

    Jillian Richardson: This sounds sad, but I genuinely believe it’s true. I had never been around adults who could do that before. It gave me a new model of what was possible. It gave me a new community in New York City and it just completely changed my perception of what I could do with my life, which is a huge point that I always try and drive home with why friendship is so important and the people we surround ourselves with is so crucial, is because the people who are around us are modeling the potential for our own lives.

    Kenneth Page: Beautiful.

    Jillian Richardson: If we’re around uninspiring people, we’re probably going to be living an uninspiring life ourselves.

    Kenneth Page: Yes, or struggling upstream every day.

    Jillian Richardson: Totally.

    Kenneth Page: I love that. I love that. I just acknowledge the point of facing the loneliness. It’s so funny how busyness covers loneliness. I relate to this so well because I know for me I was a gay man living in New York, looking for love is not like I wasn’t looking for intimacy, but I was looking in the wrong places and I was endlessly busy with my career and my kind of desperate search for love.

    I didn’t even have time to slow down enough to know how lonely I was. When I began a journey, also like you, of discovering places where I could learn and grow, for me it was a body-mind therapist training program. I began to face the loneliness.

    The Beginning of a Good Life

    Kenneth Page: I remember this one moment, I had seen kids on the beach or in the playground, if they got really hit by surprise, their mouths would just open up. They were so upset that a sound wouldn’t even come out. That was the feeling of my recognizing how deeply sadly lonely I was. Then, the tears just poured out. That was the beginning of my stopping just looking for love and trying to build it. That was the beginning of kind of what I think of as my good life. I just want to recognize that pivotal moment, that precious moment of saying, “I’m too lonely. I don’t have the connection I want yet.”

    Jillian Richardson: I think what you’re saying of kind of taking a pause is the only time when you can truly feel what’s going on inside. I think this moment in time that we’re in right now where the entire country in the world is on pause because of the Coronavirus. I think a lot of people are going to have realizations about the ways that they’re coping and if they’re working for them or not.

    Even just for me, I live in New York City. Again, as I said, a way that I cope is through being busy and working a lot and over-scheduling myself. Even just in the first two weeks of this, noticing how many Zoom calls I was getting on and how many virtual parties I was going to and just realizing, I’m doing the same thing to myself. To just take that pause and say, “Why am I so resistant to just being with myself?”

    An Ongoing Excavation

    Kenneth Page: That’s such a rich point. I could look at my life in some ways and say, “It’s so filled with love – my husband, my kids, my pets, my family,” but on a day-to-day level, I find the same thing. I keep covering that over with busyness. I just want to acknowledge the humbling truth you’re saying, which is that it’s an ongoing excavation.

    When you talked about what’s going on now in the world with COVID-19, I got chills, because here we all are, we have this built-in opportunity for a pause. I would love it if you could just talk to everybody who’s in this pause and help us understand how we can make the most of that.

    Jillian Richardson: I think a really great opportunity of this moment if people have the emotional capacity for it, and which a lot of people don’t, but if you do, is to just do the deeper emotional work that a lot of us put on the back burner because we don’t have time. That could look like reading books about Somatics and how your body is connected to your emotions. I really recommend the book, The Body Keeps the Score, by Bessel van der Kolk. I quote it in my book a lot. It’s a really powerful example of how our bodies can trap trauma and how our bodies can react in ways that we don’t even understand are connected to our emotions.

    Also, looking at how our family systems have influenced the ways that we cope as adults. For me, I had my big kind of year of just really diving into my own family psychology.

    Find Your People by Caring More for Other People

    Find Your People Is by Caring More for Other Prople
    Photographer: Bonnie Kittle | Source: Unsplash

    Jillian Richardson: I read The Body Keeps the Score. I also read The Drama of the Gifted Child. I kind of joke that people who read that book need a support group because it is a heavy book. It made me personally realize how I will create a mask of an achiever, a perfectionist, of a good girl, of someone who wants everyone to like her. My boundaries are your boundaries.

    Pushing myself to care for other people and not taking care of myself kind of having lots of shallow relationships versus really committing to a few deeper relationships and just seeing all of these patterns in my own personal life and realizing how deeply tied they are to my relationship with my family, and realizing if I don’t work on my relationship with my family, even just within myself of healing those wounds, I’m not going to be able to overcome these patterns and I’m not going to feel less lonely no matter how many incredible people I bring into my life because I don’t even fundamentally believe that I deserve this love or intimacy in the first place.

    Kenneth Page: So you’re talking about a kind of powerful task that people can do during this pause which is to actually look at their family of origin and the patterns that emerge that they still might be stuck in and you recommended two wonderful books. Tell us more ideas. Maybe, some people don’t want to touch that stuff. Maybe, they’re not readers.

    Jillian Richardson: That’s totally understandable.

    Taking a Much Needed Pause

    Kenneth Page: I think it’s glorious. You’re starting right at the basis. For those people that maybe don’t want to do that, what are some other things that they could do to press the pause, feel what’s underneath, reexamine their lives, and use this pause to deepen their journey toward connection?

    Jillian Richardson: Another activity that I would recommend is to do some journaling on who the current people are in your life that are in your circle. If you were to write down the names of your closest friends and the people who you spend the most time with in your life and reflect on, “What is it about this relationship that I really like? What is it about this relationship that I don’t necessarily like?”

    I think it takes a pause like this for people to look at their relationships with a microscope and say, “Wow, the people I spend the most time with, I actually don’t even like that much.” If you’re one of those people, I am not saying this with judgment whatsoever, because I’m in conversations with people a lot around their experiences of loneliness. It is very common for people to just hold on to relationships and friendships because of history together.

    That could look like, “Well, we went to college together,” or, “We grew up together,” or, “We have the same job, and so we just hang out after work,” whatever it is. To think about if you could either take some time to improve that relationship, to perhaps learn some skills yourself and this is probably a separate point, but to learn some skills yourself for communicating better with that person, having deeper conversations with them, being a better listener to them.

    Questions to Guide You as You Find Your People

    Jillian Richardson: Or if you want to be a little more brutal with yourself, or if this is true for you, and say, “Actually, this relationship is very draining to me. When I’m in a relationship with this person, I feel less energized versus more energized, most of the time, if not all of the time.” If that’s true for you, then to reflect on, “When this pause is over and I can reemerge into the world again, what does my ideal community look like? Who are the types of people I want to surround myself with? What type of friends do I want to be to them? How do I want them to support me?”

    Because it’s a thing that people kind of just let happen to them a lot of the time. I know that was true for me, where it was just, “Okay, these are the people who are in my life. They’re here, we’re spending time together. Why would I try and find somebody different?” When in reality, these people can, I don’t that like the word, “up level,” but they can bring so much more joy and life into your existence.

    Kenneth Page: So much to say about that. That’s so important and dense. It’s hard and real and important stuff. I was just thinking about a dear friend of mine who underwent surgery. After surgery, she was very, very vulnerable. She had this thing where she wouldn’t let people visit her who drained her. In her normal life, very resilient, very empowered. She handled that. But, in her post-surgery period, she had a revelation, which was some people drain her and that she actually had a right to honor that.

    The Different Flavors of Disconnection

    The Different Flavors of Disconnection
    Photographer: Eric Muhr | Source: Unsplash

    Kenneth Page: I love what you’re saying. That’s a rich, rich thing to think about. In which of those relationships can you fix that, can you change that? I believe it’s in Episode 64, I actually teach a concept called the Aha Process, which is a wonderful way to kind of deepen and heal relationships. Just one other thing I want to say is that this pause concept is so rich. If bubble baths are your thing, or meditation is your thing or doing YouTube yoga sessions, all of these things, now is the time for that.

    And I love your idea of journaling, Jillian. I think that’s so important and so rich. You mentioned to me before we started this recording that you actually had a series of questions that you’d like to ask people. Would this be a good time for that?

    Jillian Richardson: Yes. Totally. Actually, I have them pulled up on my computer.

    Kenneth Page: Great.

    Jillian Richardson: These are questions that, for a while, I was making social calendars for people in New York City, where they would fill out a questionnaire and I would custom-make a list of suggestions of events that they could attend to meet people in the city.

    Kenneth Page: So great.

    Jillian Richardson: It more than anything, it was just a really great way for me to get insight into all the different flavors of disconnection that exist in New York City.

    Kenneth Page: So well said.

    A Busted Myth Regarding Disconnection

    Jillian Richardson: One side-point that I want to make before I read these questions is, the first two people who signed up for this service after I posted it were both people who were in committed romantic relationships, which at that time shocked me. Because one of my wounds is that I really craved a romantic relationship growing up. I really thought that if I have this person then everything will be great. And so to hear, “Wow, these people are in a really long-term relationship and they feel lonely. What does that say?”

    It’s saying that you can feel disconnected no matter what it looks like from the outside looking in. You can struggle with finding friends even if you’re married or dating someone. That gave me a lot of really great context. It felt like a myth was busted for myself.

    Kenneth Page: So important. So important. Also, so many married folks, you don’t get all your needs met, including deep and important needs that do need to be met. This is this thing that it’s not going to be a lover or a husband or a wife or a partner that’s going to meet all your needs, they’re a glorious, glorious, glorious place of fruition of intimacy, but we need our friends. If we have family we can connect to, we need our family. We need our pets. We need our relationship to nature. We are so multi-faceted and that’s just so important.

    Jillian Richardson: Amen. With these people, I asked them these 10 questions.

    Kenneth Page: 10 questions. Great.

    Jillian Richardson: It’s 10. If you want, I can read a handful of them or all of them.

    The Precious Questions About Connectedness

    Kenneth Page: Whatever you think is best. I’m very excited to hear them.

    Jillian Richardson: I’ll read a handful of them.

    Kenneth Page: Sure.

    Jillian Richardson: The questions, they’re about finding your friends, but also just finding the events and the gatherings where you might find your friends.

    Kenneth Page: Great. Jillian, I’m just going to say one thing here for the listeners. I would love you to consider at this point, maybe getting a paper and a pen if you want. If you’re walking and you want to answer these questions out loud, you could do that. If you want to stop and get a paper and a pen. But to pause as long as you like after each one of her questions to really let yourself formulate your answer because these are really precious questions.

    Jillian Richardson: Thank you. The first question, and I think this might be my favorite question, is when in your life have you truly felt like you belonged? What was it about that time that made you feel that way?

    Kenneth Page: Oh my god, that’s so beautiful. I have chills hearing that question. I want to encourage people to take a minute pause and answer that.

    Jillian Richardson: I run an online group that I ask that question to and I get to hear people’s answers. It’s a question a lot of people really struggle to answer. If that’s the case for you, that’s completely okay. It’s a great way to reflect on, “Wow, that time in my life when I went to summer camp when I was a teenager. What was it about that summer camp that made me feel so included?” You just get those wheels turning. That’s one question.

    Find Your People Who Inspire You

    Find Your People Who Inspire You
    Photographer: Марьян Блан | @marjanblan | Source: Unsplash

    Jillian Richardson: Some other kind of less meta-questions are what areas of your city inspire you that you want to spend more time in? Also, what skills do you want to develop?

    Kenneth Page: These are wonderful questions.

    Jillian Richardson: Thank you. How do you want to improve as a person in the next 12 months? These questions are really just to kind of make the tie between the people who are around you can help you with all of these things. If someone says, “I feel really disconnected from my body, and I’ve always wanted to feel comfortable going out dancing.” If a woman said that to me, I’d say, “Well, how about you find a group for only women who danced together?” Because that’s probably a good first step, and to be around women who are comfortable in their skin, so that you can see what’s possible for yourself.

    Because going to a women’s only dance party is going to be far better for that person and more inspiring and uplifting for that person than just going to a nightclub or a bar and dancing. It’s about being around people who are shifting your perception of what is possible.

    Kenneth Page: And that’s your point again about how important it is to surround yourself with people who inspire you, help you be the you that you want to be. That’s something you keep coming to and I so love.

    Jillian Richardson: Thank you. I appreciate that. I think one more question that I’ll add because I think it ties into really beautifully of how you often talk about people’s gifts, Ken, and how those gifts can be really tied to things that people don’t necessarily like about themselves.

    Kenneth Page: Yes.

    Defining Your Personal Struggles

    Jillian Richardson: A question I ask people is, what’s your biggest struggle right now? With the woman who might be uncomfortable in her skin, if that’s her biggest struggle, being in groups of women who are really sexually empowered and comfortable in their bodies will be such a huge benefit. A lot of people don’t necessarily connect what they’re struggling with, with their friendships, but they can be really complimentary.

    Kenneth Page: I love this. I love this. You’re laying out a framework for what everybody could do. You’re talking about people taking a pause. Then, you’re talking about people answering questions that really help them think about when they have felt gratified, when they have felt a deep sense of connection, when they haven’t, with whom do they feel that sense of connection, all of these questions. And then, also, what do they long for? These are just such fabulous pause period questions for people to reflect on.

    Now, I’d like to ask you kind of a next step question with two parts. The next step is, then what do you do to find that? Especially if you’re living in an urban area or if you’re living not in an urban area, including you’re far away or you’re older and you have a hard time getting around. That’s question number one. Like, what do you do to find these events? And number two, what do you do now while you’re sheltered at home, if you’re sheltered at home? Anybody who has a hard time getting out and getting connected, how can we use the online world? What can we do? Just anything you want to say about these next steps in creating this life that you teach we can have.

    Find Your People Through Virtual Events

    Jillian Richardson: I think in terms of online events and what’s possible, the easiest suggestion for me is that my newsletter, The Joy List, actually is only featuring virtual events right now. They are events hosted in the online space that anyone anywhere can attend.

    Kenneth Page: Love that. Love that. Yes. Huge, huge, important.

    Jillian Richardson: That makes it very easy.

    Kenneth Page: Everybody should subscribe then.

    Jillian Richardson: Yes. I think for the foreseeable months as most people are in social isolation and distancing themselves, we don’t know when this is going to end. I’ve made the commitment to include events that anyone can attend from anywhere for the foreseeable future.

    Kenneth Page: I love that. That’s gold. Thank you so much. Yes.

    Jillian Richardson: Of course. It has made me so happy to see how many community builders all around the world are taking this time to do partnerships that were never possible before. To reach more people than they ever could have reached before. Just to say, “The ecstatic dance that happens in San Francisco, suddenly, I can be there. I’m going to be there with 500 people, and we’re all dancing from home.” It’s different, but it’s really beautiful.

    Kenneth Page: Wonderful.

    Jillian Richardson: That’s one very easy way to do that. Outside of the virtual events, I also have some really quick tips for finding in-person events when all of this is over. A very simple one is on Eventbrite – eventbrite.com which features ticketed events. There is a filter called community. When you’re searching for events, say, you’re looking for events on June 3rd in your town, you can also put on the filter of Community Events.

    A Facilitated Connection

    Jillian Richardson: I typically find that events that are tagged, either community or spirituality tend to be the best for facilitated connection. The reason that I talk about facilitated connection is because that’s what has helped me find friends at events. I’m an extroverted person. I’m great at starting conversations with people. And even for me, to walk into a big networking event or a big party and to just start talking to people feels very daunting. It doesn’t feel natural. The connection can feel kind of forced.

    Instead, to have a facilitator there who says, “We’re going to get you partnered up with this person. You’re each going to ask each other this question for five minutes,” I just feel so deeply relieved. That’s why in my newsletter I only feature events that have facilitated connection. Because it’s taking the pressure off of people and giving them a way to have permission to go a little bit deeper with others.

    Kenneth Page: I love that. I love that because I think so many people think, “God, what’s wrong with me? I need to be able to do this.” But just the difference between those two scenarios you described, it’s just a world of difference. I just think that’s a beautiful, beautiful key. That’s great.

    Jillian Richardson: Thank you. The same thing also applies for Facebook. If you have Facebook, when you go to the “Events” tab on the left-hand side, there is a discovery feature where you just simply hit “Discover”, you choose the dates that you want to find events for. And a helpful element of this feature is you can see events that your friends have expressed that they’re going to, or they are interested in.

    Kenneth Page: Nice.

    The Medium to Be Utilized to Find Your People

    The Medium to Be Utlized to Find Your People
    Photographer: Cristofer Jeschke | Source: Unsplash

    Jillian Richardson: For me in New York City, I might be like, “I don’t know what’s going on next Saturday.” Suddenly I’ll see, “Well, 10 people I know are going to this cuddle party, or this yoga class, or this movie screening and discussion.” For a lot of people, that helps kind of ease the fear of showing up, is to see that someone you know will be there already.

    Kenneth Page: I love that. I love that. In all of my teaching, I tell people that the best, best way to meet a partner is at events where there are other people who share your values. Events that kind of touch you deeply, touch your deepest values, excite you the most because you’ll be shining there. And that’s true, you’ll be glowing. That glow is going to be true with making friends, with finding a partner.

    And what you’re saying in a certain way is that the medium of meeting is hugely important. And you’re recommending media of meeting, ways of meeting, that are warm, safe, structured, connected, and joyful.

    Jillian Richardson: Completely. Very well put. Thank you.

    Kenneth Page: I love that. I love that. Could you say something Jillian to all the people that are listening and thinking, “Well, conceptually, this is really good but ouch, I don’t want to have to go out there. It’s so hard. It’s hard. It’s embarrassing. It’s awkward. I know I have to. I know I should.” Any words of encouragement or just suggestions or anything to help all of us who feel just a little bit held back around taking these brave steps?

    Posting Your Interests Attracts the Right People in Your Tribe

    Jillian Richardson: Completely. I think the first thing that’s really important for people to know if you’re feeling, ” I don’t want to be a burden to people,” or, “Everyone else already has enough friends, I don’t want to reach out,” is just to give some data. One number that I always love sharing is that the average American has one close friend and 75% of Americans are not satisfied with their friendships. Which means that most of us have one friend and most of us don’t even like that friend, which is a total bummer.

    But at the same time it really emphasizes and highlights how if you’re asking people to spend time with you, chances are you are giving them a huge gift by doing that.

    Kenneth Page: Yes.

    Jillian Richardson: Even if you reach out to someone and say, “Hey, I’m going to this movie screening. I think it’d be really fun. I would love for you to join me. I’d love to spend some time with you”. Even if they can’t make it, I know nobody in the world who would read that message and think, “It’s so annoying that this person reached out to me and wants to spend time with me.” Everyone wants to be thought of. Everyone wants to be invited. Another tip that I give people a lot, which for me I will own, can be easier because I do this a lot, but I think it’s really, really helpful is, if you have social media and if you’re comfortable doing this, to just publicly say what type of person you’re interested in connecting with right now.

    Find Your People and See How It Can Change Your Life

    Jillian Richardson: This is also very helpful if you’re moving to a new place. Even if you’ve lived in your city for years, you can say, “Hey, friends in (insert your city here), I’m interested in meeting people who are interested in (insert your interests here). Who do you have for me?”

    Kenneth Page: I love it.

    Jillian Richardson: This is a really simple idea because people love to help. And on social media, just tagging someone in a post takes literally two seconds. Ken, if you said, “Hey, New York City. I’m interested in meeting people who are therapists, who work in the relationship space.” It’s very easy for me to go and tag a friend of mine in that post and it’s up to them if they want to connect with you or not.

    Kenneth Page: I love it.

    Jillian Richardson: Chances are you’re going to have a lot of people to suddenly connect with just because you were brave enough to post.

    Kenneth Page: What happens to people who take these steps? How, kind of from the inside do their lives change when they increase the number of wonderful spaces they have and deeper connections? How do people’s lives change when they have that? When they do that?

    Jillian Richardson: Great question. I would say, one, the most important thing to me of how people’s lives change is that, by consistently showing up in these spaces and by consistently looking for really wonderful people in your life, you are proving to yourself that you are worth love, and care, and connection.

    Find Your People By Showing Up for Yourself

    Find Your People By Showing up for Yourself
    Photographer: alex bracken | Source: Unsplash

    Jillian Richardson: It’s just like if you are showing up to exercise, or you’re showing up and making really beautiful meals for yourself. You’re signaling to your body that I am worth caring for, and I am safe, and I am supported. It’s improving your self-esteem.

    By doing these things, your self-esteem will improve or at least this is what I’ve seen with myself and people who I work with. Also, you just have things to look forward to. When you have things to look forward to, the amount of joy in your life is increasing because you can look at your calendar and say, “Wow, this week I’m going to my women’s circle. I’m going to a really great yoga class followed by a discussion. I’m going to a sober dance party.” Whatever it is, you’re saying, “Wow, there’s a lot of really incredible stuff.”

    And it’s going to be far easier for you to connect with people. Because when someone says, “What’s going on? What are you looking forward to?” Suddenly, you can become the person who’s saying, “There’s this great thing I’m going to and here’s why I love it. If you want to join me, that’d be great.” Speaking as someone who went from being in New York City not feeling connected, not knowing where to go to find really good, heartfelt connections to suddenly becoming the person who everyone is asking for recommendations, it just becomes so much simpler to have deeper connections with people because we’re going to spaces where deeper connections are literally facilitated. That’s the point of the space that we’re going to in the first place.

    Connect With Jillian

    Kenneth Page: Gorgeous, gorgeous. I just want to encourage everyone who’s listening, and you’re going to get to hear about how to do this in just a few moments, to join The Joy List, because it’s virtual, it’s everywhere. In addition to finding these events, Jillian’s work is going to spark you thinking in new ways and in new directions. “That’s pretty cool. I’d like to do something a little bit different, like such and such. Let me search out where that is.” Her list will just spark so many new ideas for you.

    Kenneth Page: Jillian, in a minute I’m going to ask you to tell people how they could get in touch with you. Right now, could you tell them the website to go to so that they could subscribe to The Joy List?

    Jillian Richardson: Yes. The website for The Joy List is joylist.nyc.

    Kenneth Page: Beautiful. Remember folks, it’s not just NYC. Now, at this point, it’s everywhere in the world which is fabulous.

    Jillian Richardson: Yes.

    Kenneth Page: Jillian, your work touches me deeply because nobody’s talking about this. Deep, deep, deep within our beings, there’s such a hurt, there’s such a wounding, there’s such an emptiness that comes from a kind of endemic loneliness that we don’t even recognize. What your mission is about is healing that, recognizing it, changing it, and helping the world at the same time. Do you have any last thoughts that you want to share with this community?

    Final Thoughts on Loneliness

    Jillian Richardson: I think the last thing that I’ll leave people with is just, if you are lonely, you are not alone. There are tons of steps that you can take to feel more connected. Shame is not a helpful emotion. If you’re feeling shame around your loneliness, just know that your experience is really common and there’s probably a ton of people around you who are feeling exactly the same way but they’re just not brave enough to either look at it or to admit it.

    Kenneth Page: Beautiful. Thank you, Jillian. Now, can you give us the full picture of how people can connect with you, learn from you, and what you offer?

    Jillian Richardson: Yes. Thank you. The easiest thing to do is to buy my book. It’s called Unlonely Planet. You can find it on Amazon. If you’re looking to do some deeper work, I have one current offering and two where you can reach out to me and we can figure it out one-on-one. One is, I offer an online program called Four Weeks to Find Your People.

    Kenneth Page: Love that.

    Jillian Richardson: Thank you. If you go to The Joy List website, there’ll be a signup form for that. I also have my wait list open for my online course. If you’re someone who doing a program with a group right now feels kind of scary or you don’t want to commit to that, you can do the online program at your own pace.

    Jillian Richardson: Lastly, I offer one-on-one coaching. If you reach out to me at [email protected] which is my email address and mention that you found me through Deeper Dating, I will give you a special gift.

    Jillian’s Social Handles

    Kenneth Page: Beautiful, beautiful. Tell us about your social media handles.

    Jillian Richardson: Yes, the social media handles, on Instagram, I am either @thatjillian, J-I-L-L-I-A-N. That’s also my handle on Twitter, it is @thatjillian. If you’re looking to follow The Joy List, we are The Joy List on Facebook and @joylistnyc on Instagram.

    Kenneth Page: Beautiful, beautiful. Did I leave anything out?

    Jillian Richardson: Did you leave anything out? I guess, if you want to learn just about me as a person, my personal website, no surprise, is thatjillian.com.

    Kenneth Page: Fantastic, fantastic. Folks, I’m so excited by these messages. I just know, you know Anthony Robbins says, “Show me the five people you’re closest to and I’ll show you the quality of your life.” It’s just so true.

    Jillian, your message is a message of nourishment and healing that the world desperately needs. It’s also a message of fun and joy which we all, especially these days, really need. Thank you so much for being on the show.

    Jillian Richardson: Thank you, Ken.

    Kenneth Page: Take care, everybody. I look forward to seeing you on the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast. If this episode has meaning for anybody in your life, please share this with them because I think so many people will benefit from this. If you want, you can also go to deeperdatingpodcast.com and sign up for my mailing list and get a free gift and learn about all the work and the programs that I’m doing as well.

    Kenneth Page: Jillian, what a joy. I’ve waited so long to have this interview with you.

    Jillian Richardson: Thank you.

    Kenneth Page: Thank you. Take care, everyone.

  • How to Stop Relying on Your False Self and Reclaim Your Authentic Power [EP065]

    All of us have a false self, created to protect us as we move through life. That false self has no true personal power. When we rely on it, we feel like we’re climbing a wobbly ladder. This episode teaches how you can stop relying on your false self and reclaim your true self, where your real power, ingenuity, and deepest truth lie. It is the key to an empowered and intimate life. Living from our true self is life’s greatest adventure!

    Table of Contents

    Episode Introduction: False Self

    False Self

    I think that maybe the greatest key to a rich and love-filled life is learning to discover our true self and separate it from our false self. In this episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast, you’ll learn how to identify your true self and your false self, and liberate your true self in your relationships and in your life, so stay tuned.

    Hello, everybody, and welcome to The Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page, and I’m a psychotherapist and the author of the bestselling book Deeper Dating, and I’m the host of this podcast.

    Today, I’m going to be speaking about how to identify your true self and separate it from your false self in your interactions with the world and with yourself. Every week, I’m going to share the greatest tools that I know to help you find love and grow love and heal your life in the process because the skills of true dating are nothing more than the skills of intimacy, and the skills of intimacy are the greatest skills of all.

    And if you want to learn more about the Deeper Dating path to real intimacy, just go to deeperdatingpodcast.com. You can sign up for my mailing list and get some wonderful free gifts and learn more about how to use these ideas to transform your entire intimacy journey.

    You’ll also find a complete transcript of this episode and all the other episodes. And you’ll also find my new downloadable Deeper Dating Course. I’ve put in a lot of time, and a lot of love, and a lot of heart into creating an audio and some video course with workbooks that captures kind of the essence of the entire journey that I teach here. So you can find out more about that on my website.

    Subscribe and Leave Ken a Review

    Subscribe and Leave Ken a Review
    Leave Ken a Review

    Also I want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not psychiatric or medical advice or treatment of any condition. If you think you need help around emotional issues, I so encourage you to get yourself that kind of professional help and support.

    Finally, thank you for the beautiful, amazing reviews that I’ve gotten. I appreciate it incredibly. If you like what you’re hearing here and you haven’t left a review yet, it would just be so wonderful if you could subscribe and leave a review on whatever platform you listen to this on. So thank you so much for your patience, and now we’re going to jump in.

    So all of us create a false self to protect our true self when it feels too frightening to be genuine in the world. What happens is when our false self becomes dominant, it begins to bury the very qualities that it was originally designed to protect. And those buried qualities, which I call our core gifts, hold the key to deeper love, to our creativity and to the deepest meaning in our lives.

    So how can we free them? That’s what we’re going to be talking about in this episode. We’re going to talk about the process of rediscovering and gradually liberating these challenging but life-changing aspects of our true selves, our core gifts. I speak about them in much greater detail in my course Deeper Dating, and in my book Deeper Dating.

    But in my years, my many years, as a psychotherapist, I really have become more and more profoundly convinced that these parts of ourselves hold the missing link in so many cases to our search for love and a richer, more meaningful life.

    Using Your False Self as a Defensive Structure

    The False Self as a Defensive Structure
    Photographer: Catrin Johnson | Source: Unsplash

    The great psychoanalytic theorist D.W. Winnicott used this term “false self” to describe the kind of defensive structure that a young person has to create when usually his or her mother but his or her parent can’t respond to him or her with empathy and care. And no parent’s perfect but if this kind of lack of parental empathy is chronic, the child is forced to create a false self that’s designed to meet the parents’ needs, not their own.

    And the more that this child comes to feel that their true self is not appreciated, is not delighted in, is not cherished, and is not dignified, the more the false self has to become dominant.

    Winnicott describes this kind of terrible poverty of inner life that occurs as our false self gets bigger and takes up more and more space as a loss of our innate vitality, and joy, and creativity.

    So we all need to create a false self, and we all do create a false self just to smooth the waters of our day-to-day life at the very least. But when we get too dependent on the crutches of our false self, we lose the spark of our deepest and most unique personal gifts.

    We lose the spark that is so essentially us and nobody else. It’s our soul. It’s our core gifts. And these gifts of our true self are often not easy, they challenge us. They challenge other people. And how could they be easy? Because as I say, they’re our genius, and genius domesticated is genius lost.

    The Cost of Depending on Your False Self

    These parts of us hold our greatest yearning. They hold our riskiest, juiciest thoughts and ideas, and they hold our most essential vulnerability, our most profound needs, our wildest joys, our deepest hurts, our secret story.

    So our true self is really challenging in its power, its tenderness, and its originality. And unless we are taught to name and understand this true self part of us, our core gifts, what I call our core gifts, until we learn how to work with their force and their vulnerability, we lose our link to them. Then we rely more and more on our false selves to get us through and we become more and more uncomfortable with our true selves.

    More and more there’s this ring of fire that we would have to step through; shame, embarrassment, vulnerability to cross over into our true self. When that happens, we lose our ability to play, to create, and to love. Kierkegaard said this amazingly. It’s very moving. He said,

    “The deepest form of despair is to choose to be another than himself. “

    So powerful. And just to share a story….. a number of years ago, I was in a position where I had committed to way too many things, which I’m really prone to do. I found myself trapped in this kind of web of obligations and demands that just felt impossible to reconcile or carry. But I had to do every one of them, I felt. And it felt like I was just being completely crowded out of my good life, that good life that I remembered, and there were no options.

    Taking a Chance on God

    I had a mentor at the time, whose name was John McNeill, I’ve done some writing about him, and he was a hero of mine. He was a Jesuit priest who was kicked out of the Jesuit order by Benedict, who then became the Pope. He wrote a book. He wrote a number of books that are just amazing about the journey toward authenticity and true spirituality. One book that I love deeply is Taking a Chance on God. And I actually wrote the forward to his last book, which is called Sex as God Intended.

    Anyway, he was my spiritual advisor. So in my meeting with him, I told him about what was going on for me and he said something that was very surprising. It wasn’t what I expected, but it really shed very intriguing light on this whole situation. So he said, “Ken, I somehow feel that you don’t have enough access to your true self in this situation.”

    So he asked me, “Can you see if you could find your true self in this situation and also identify your false self?” So I knew about this concept, of course, but I had never been bluntly asked to do it myself. So we’re all going to be doing that today in this episode. I’m going to ask you to do some work with this, to discover the preciousness of your true self and the importance of understanding your false self.

    Anyway, so I did it, and my answer was clear. It was scary and beautifully clear. I had been putting my obligations way ahead of my well-being.

    My People-Pleaser False Self

    My People-Pleaser False Self
    Photographer: Maarten van den Heuvel | Source: Unsplash

    My people-pleasing tendency had ascendancy and the part of me that wanted to breathe and needed to breathe was being crushed. My obligations had become senior to my authentic self, my true self. My false self wouldn’t let me say no without terrible guilt.

    My true self felt trapped and just yearned to take a stand, but my false self would not allow it. The fear was too great that I’d be irresponsible, that I’d be an irresponsible person, that I would hurt other people, that people would be angry at me, that people would reject me, that I would look really bad.

    So I buried my true self because it was too dangerous, and I didn’t have access to that true self. And without access to my true self, I had no power. I didn’t have the power to get out of this quicksand I had created for myself because my inner strength, which was my true self, was buried, and my people-pleaser false self that I had learned to rely on just was not strong enough to handle the challenge of my life at that time.

    This is what happens, when we lead with our false self, we will always feel inadequate. There’ll be a terrible cycle of having to prove.

    And God knows when we’re in a position where we’re coming to the world or relationships from a place of having to prove, there’s going to be a lot of pain. That feeling of inadequacy is going to just haunt us and chase us because our false self is inadequate. It does not have link to our personal genius or our personal power.

    Identifying True Self From the False Self

    And when we rely on it, it’s like climbing a wobbly ladder. We’re always going to be afraid of being toppled. We won’t feel solid in the truth of who we are.

    So John asked me to do that. And just naming and valuing my true self gave me the courage to make some really hard phone calls, which I couldn’t have done if I didn’t identify my true self and my false self. I pulled back from a lot of things. I extended some deadlines and people were wonderful. They were fine.

    I was living under this guard at the gate that was not about them and not about reality. It was about such a terror of doing wrong or being wrong that it had just ascendancy over my true self, which said, “I like breathing.” So before I talked with John, it would’ve been impossible for me to do what I did. After I talked to him, I was able to do it and breathe again.

    Simply naming my true self and my false self was enough to change my whole view of things. When the pressure was lifted, my good life came back. And like most of us, I’m happiest when I can breathe, when I can reflect, when I can enjoy my loved ones. But again and again, these parts of me encroach on that.

    The false self that always is trying to prove my worth, or maybe more specifically disprove my unworthiness, constantly buries me in an avalanche of obligations.

    Establishing a Current Relationship With Your True Self

    The truth is that willpower is insufficient to change that dynamic. What it requires is a current relationship with my true self, with the part of me that values a full life more than values proving to people that I’m worthy.

    So, now, I’m going to invite you to ask yourself the same question that John McNeill asked me. Now, I’d like you to take a minute, you can pause this if you like, and think about an aspect of your life which is causing concern for you, causing problems, causing worry, a place where you’re kind of losing yourself and you don’t know how to be. And just, we hold this with cupped hands. We give it space. We don’t judge it.

    Then, I want to ask you three questions. In this situation, what aspects of your true self have you been frightened to fully claim and express? Now, they may be immature, they may be imperfect, they may be unripe, but we need to start out by giving them freedom. So what are the parts of your true self? What’s the voice of your true self here if you weren’t going to worry about what people think?

    Next question. What is the false self that you created to hide this true self? Think about that false self that you’ve created and en wrap the true self in to make life easier, to make life safer. Now, thinking about your true self, can you name that part of you as a gift? Can you think of it as a core gift?

    Recognizing the Gifts of True Self

    Take a minute to think about how that true self is a gift. What are the qualities it has that are precious? Compassion, fierceness, self-care, generosity, clarity, direction. Take a minute to see and name the gift in your true self. And imagine, now, what would it be like to come from your true self in a balanced way. As they say, say what you mean, mean what you say, and don’t say it mean.

    Just imagine what it would be like to do that in this situation. As you reflect on what it might look like to engage your true self here, just remember that it takes time and patience to develop the skills to handle the heat and the power of our core gifts. Until we learn those skills, we’re going to tend to either suppress the power of our true self or express it in ways that are maybe a little strident, a little rough, a little harsh, a little unintegrated.

    That’s how we learn. But when we ask ourselves, “How can I own this true self? And then how can I express it with care for the world at the same time?” we’re in our growing place. Here’s another thing, too, it’s really important to remember that our core gifts, our true self can tell how committed we are to really protecting and honoring it.

    And as much as we may try to rouse our true self out of hiding, it won’t come out until it knows we have its back. The false self is unbelievably strong because it’s forged out of a need to survive.

    Understanding and Naming Our False Self

    Understanding and Naming Our False Self
    Photographer: Noah Buscher | Source: Unsplash

    Winnicott said in one of the most poignant, poignant concepts, he said that the need to protect our true self is so great that some of us actually choose death over a threat to that self.

    So the key to healing any old hypnosis is through a current relationship with a better reality. So if we want to liberate our true self, it’s essential that we build a loving relationship with it, that we learn how to get a kick out of it, and that we learn how to call it a gift and see how these aspects do reflect some of our deepest, truest life mission DNA gifts.

    It’s also essential that we find, and create, and build relationships with the people who are capable of honoring those qualities in us. That is like one of the absolute greatest keys to a happy life. And in your search for love, that’s what I invite you to look for, centrally and primarily. Watch how that changes your world because it does and it will.

    So discovering and reclaiming our true self and understanding and naming our false self is one of the greatest adventures in our life. So I’d love to hear any of your thoughts and reflections. You can go to deeperdatingpodcast.com and just click on Ask Ken and share anything you want about these ideas.

    Also, I really encourage you to go to that website and sign up for my mailing list so that you can become a part of my learning community. So thank you so much for listening, and I’ll see you in the next episode of The Deeper Dating Podcast.

  • 3 Steps to Resolving the Conflicts In Your Life [EP064]

    These 3 steps to resolving the conflicts in your life have the power to deepen all of your intimate relationships, including your relationship with yourself. Each of these three steps leads to a deeper state of authenticity; to a gentle, skillful “overthrow” of the inner and outer voices which hold us back from deeper love.

    Table of Contents

    Episode Introduction: Resolving the Conflicts

    Resolving the Conflicts

    If you’re experiencing conflicts of any sort, there’s a three-step process that will get you through that conflict and take you out to the other side with a much greater sense of self-love, knowledge, and connectedness. Stay tuned to the Deeper Dating Podcast to learn this wonderful technique.

    Hello and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page, and I’m a psychotherapist and a coach and the author of the bestselling book, Deeper Dating: How to Drop the Games of Seduction and Discover the Power of Intimacy. I’m excited about our podcast today because I’m going to be talking about a three-step process to resolve conflict with other people or within yourself.

    Every week, I’m going to share with you the greatest tools that I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process, because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love and the skills of love, including self-love are the greatest skills of all for a happy life.

    And if you want to learn more about the Deeper Dating path to real intimacy, just go to deeperdatingpodcast.com. You can sign up for my mailing list and get free gifts and learn more about how to use these ideas to transform your own intimacy journey.

    And I’m thrilled to announce that now on the website you can also find out about a very in-depth, very rich downloadable online course that I’ve just created. And you’ll also find a complete transcript of this and every episode on the website.

    Subscribe and Leave Ken a Review

    Subscribe and Leave Ken a Review
    Leave Ken a Review

    Also, I just want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment. If you like what you’re learning here, I would really appreciate it if you could subscribe, leave me a review, and share information about the podcast with other people who might be interested in it. So thank you so much for that and let’s jump in.

    This is a wonderful process to resolve conflict through deeper self-honoring, and honoring of others as well. So many of us struggle on different levels with intimacy and learning this simple skill is one of the greatest gifts that we can give ourselves and give those we love.

    This technique that I’m going to teach is designed to deepen all of your intimate relationships, including your relationship with yourself. Every one of its three steps will lead you to greater authenticity and victory over the inner and outer voices that hold you back from deeper love. The process is called the AHA process and it’s an acronym that will help you remember each step, A, H, and A.

    Resolving the Conflicts Lead to Greater Authenticity

    Resolving the Conflicts Lead to Greater Authenticity
    Photographer: Prateek Katyal | Source: Unsplash

    The first step is A, authenticity and in this step you’re going to notice what you’re feeling and you’re just going to appreciate it and honor the humanity of your feelings, whatever they are, without trying to fix them or correct them.

    It’s an image that I use of holding our feelings with cupped hands, or the feelings of others with cupped hands. Cupped hands don’t squeeze and grab and try to change and push and force. And they’re also not just flat and unfeeling hands just holding something.

    Cupped hands cradle something. There’s a sense of giving it space, and if you want to do that you just could make this cup with your hands and imagine holding a feeling, a person’s heart and emotion with cupped hands. There’s a kind of cradling quality, there’s a treasure and quality, but it allows room to breathe as well.

    That’s an image for this first step in how we just recognize what we’re feeling and make room for it. So, you may just get a little bit of a feeling, you may not get any feeling yet, but if you do get a feeling just try to find some words that capture it. Some words that you could just put words on that feeling.

    It may take a while for the words to form, but just allow that time and maybe the feeling will express itself as a memory or maybe a piece of art, or music, or an image, or a smell, or a color. Whatever experience, whatever expression, captures your experience, just hold that.

    The Awkward Stage of Resolving the Conflicts

    And by doing that, you will have already created a degree of compassion for yourself and you’ll be able to find your way into the deeper meaning of whatever it is you’re experiencing. This stage might feel awkward or weird or uncomfortable and you might think, “I don’t want to do this now, it’s just too uncomfortable.” Or, “I don’t have time.” Or, “It’s too much work.” So you can expect a bit of inner resistance because it is work and it does take time and it is a little uncomfortable.

    And that inner resistance will kind of try to keep you from the challenge ahead but every time you get through that, you’ll come out on the other side and make more room for the humanity of your feelings, which is only a good thing. It’s actually a tiny act of personal greatness to take that brave step, and it’s, of course, a step toward richer self-understanding.

    Here’s a story. Here’s just an example story of somebody doing this process, doing step one, authenticity. Sharon, after years of hard work got her dream job and it was a high-level position in a very prestigious accounting firm. And now that she had reached her goal, she somehow found that she was kind of losing her ambition.

    She was coming in late even and sometimes making errors that she never should have made and she was furious at herself and just also completely bewildered. So she tried the AHA process and she began by allowing her feelings instead of judging them.

    The Second Step in Resolving the Conflicts

    In so doing she began to realize that she had been consistently unhappy in her job, but she never allowed herself to accept that reality because it just didn’t fit with all of her goals that she had been following for so many years.

    Her work environment, she realized, was kind of hostile and it was competitive and it was a complete change from her last job, and it was depressing. Until now, she hadn’t really let herself face how much she didn’t like this new job. The second stage is the step of honoring.

    This is the step that we’re most likely to overlook because few of us have been taught to do it. But it’s the antidote to our bewilderment and it is the path to our own unique wisdom. How do we do this? How do we become capable of honoring our authentic experience, especially when we’re feeling judgmental toward it or ashamed of what we’re feeling?

    The way to do it is to validate the worth of our feelings and the reality and the substance of our feelings, even if that feeling seems irrational or counterproductive, or self-sabotaging, or awkward. When we believe that we’re not supposed to feel a way that we do feel, our first reaction is usually a kind of reflexive act of self-correction that leaves our deep insides cringing against our own self-critique.

    What do you do if that’s happening to you? You’re trying to honor your authentic feelings, but you’re not liking them. You’re not proud of them, they don’t feel good, they don’t make sense, they seem self-sabotaging.

    Resolving the Conflicts by Honoring Our Feelings

    Resolving the Conflicts by Honoring Our Feelings
    Photographer: freestocks | Source: Unsplash

    Well, I’m going to offer you three questions which will help you learn how to validate your emotional experience. So if you want, you could even pause the recording and think about a kind of inner conflict, something going on that you don’t like and don’t feel good about in your own life with someone else.

    Just pick one thing if you like, if you’d like to kind of walk through this with me and allow yourself first to just authentically feel the feeling. Now we’re going to practice honoring those feelings by answering these three questions.

    These questions will, as I said, help you validate the wisdom, the intelligence, and the need behind whatever it is that you’re feeling or whatever it is you’re acting. I think a good image is the image of a tree trying to grow around rocks. The way the tree grows, its got a goal and the goal is to reach for the sun, reach toward the sun, which is a beautiful goal.

    But if you look at the shape of the tree, it might be gnarled, it might be twisted because it’s had to do all of this work to reach for the sun when it’s been blocked. We see our behaviors and it’s easy to think, “Oh, that’s weird,” or, “That’s funny,” or, “I don’t like what I did.” Or, “I don’t like how I’m feeling or how I’m acting.”

    Resolving the Conflicts Based From What We Were Taught

    But when we realize that those feelings were us reaching toward something that mattered, and that’s how we had to shape ourselves to do it, it kind of helps us see the heart of the matter, which is what it is that matters, so that we can find a better way to get to it. These are the three questions and I’d like you to try asking these of yourself and see if any of them hit.

    One, it makes sense that I feel this way because – try that one on, you can pause this. Here’s another one, “These feelings are connected to my deeper self in this way….” You can pause it again and think about this and each of these is going to give you so much of a richer level of self-understanding.

    Next, “This conflict touches a really important value of mine because….”, and you can pause again, fill in the blank. And you can see when you do that, that you begin to understand that what you were doing or feeling makes way more sense than you might have realized, that’s the stage of honoring.

    But always we’re taught, “No, think about the other person’s need first. Forgive the other person first. Try to think better or more maturely or more realistically, or in a broader way.” But that doesn’t really work because we cannot amputate our feelings. We can honor them and we can grow them and we can educate them, but amputating or suppressing them just doesn’t work. These techniques will help you discover the wisdom in what it was that you were feeling or doing.

    An Act of Quiet Violence

    It’s challenging, but really the act of honoring is the most comforting path of all. It lets us express our deepest core gifts and it allows us to kind of relinquish the whip that we hold against ourselves.

    Honoring asks kindness of us, and this is a deep thing.

    Anything other than honoring is an act of quiet violence against our being. None of us can dishonor our inner self or feelings without repercussions. Now, if the conflict you’re experiencing is with someone else, you can follow this step in your own mind for the other person and honor what it is that they’re going through.

    First imagine what they might be going through, what it seems like they’re going through, and do the same process to honor, even though they’re behaving irrationally. There is a part of their soul locked in here. There’s a way that they’re reaching for the sun and maybe not in the best way, so you’re going to do this same honoring process for them.

    It’s not going to make you accept behavior that’s unacceptable. It’s not going to have you not feel what you feel, but it’s going to honor them, which is always a good thing as long as you’re honoring yourself as well. And you may only be able to guess what the person’s feeling or what their motivation is, but the practice of honoring it really often just creates breakthroughs in our understanding.

    If you try it, you’ll see that that happens. You could even pause right now and try it or just remember for a future time. So, back to Sharon.

    The Key Point When It Comes to Resolving the Conflicts

    The Key Point When It Comes to Resolving the Conflicts
    Photographer: Robert Gramner | Source: Unsplash

    Sharon had this realization, but she was troubled by it because she had worked so hard to achieve her professional goals and now she was questioning whether she was actually cut out for the job that she had thought she wanted so much. But by asking herself those questions that we just went through, she realized something really important which she had never admitted to herself.

    And this is a really key point and in my intensives and in my work with clients, again and again, similar moments to the one I’m going to describe happen for people and they’re life-changing. She had never really admitted to herself, this, that she was profoundly, profoundly sensitive to her social environments and she was happier and way more productive when she was in a positive environment, I guess as all of us are.

    But in a negative social environment it really got to her and she became really prone to depression and self-sabotage. She had always seen it as a weakness and she tried to fight against her sensitivity and be someone else and get through it and push through it, but it never worked. Now, she was understanding it in an honoring way that this was a deep and profound sensitivity.

    It was her DNA, it was who she is. She was not happy in critical, hostile environments and she’s not someone who could let it roll off her back and that is a gift, she realized. She was really challenged by that insight, but she was relieved because she was understanding. It was like she had her user’s manual.

    The Scariest Step in Resolving the Conflicts

    She knew why things weren’t working before and why they were working before. Step three, action. In this stage, what you do is you hold your inner self or you hold the other person with honor and then you act in whatever way feels wise and true and helpful once you’ve done the first two steps. And that action step can be really hard, and there’s that great quote from Maggie Kuhn, who is the founder of the Gray Panthers,

    “Speak your mind even if your voice shakes.”

    This might be the scariest step of all, but if you’ve already done the other steps, you’ll have created an inner push towards supporting yourself. When we take authentic action, our ability to find love and follow love and grow love is increased and our authentic self becomes more fully formed.

    We feel vulnerable, but we feel essentially worthy. And without that capacity to honor ourselves and take action on our feelings, our unconscious mind will protect us from love because it knows that we would either harm others with our anger, or harm ourselves by succumbing to other people’s needs and demands.

    When we know how to honor ourselves, our unconscious will open up and reveal our deepest gifts because it’s trusting us. So every time you practice this process, the part of you that can love and love yourself is strengthened and the more you do the process, the richer your life and your interactions with the world will become.

    Back to Sharon. She was kind of stunned by this realization and she decided she was going to try to see if she could improve her experience on the job, but also start exploring other job possibilities.

    Fighting Against Innate Sensitivity

    Instead of fighting against her innate sensitivity now she wanted to honor it. She realized that her sensitivity to social environments actually applied to all her relationships. And that she sabotaged herself every time she tried to suppress or dishonor her sensitivity.

    She began to see her need for positive environments and positive connection as a gift, as a core gift, and her pain when environments or connections weren’t safe also as a core gift instead of a weakness, which was a very new way to look at her life and her future. One of the most powerful ways that we can create closeness in any relationship is by practicing this technique.

    And really one of the greatest aphrodisiacs is the feeling that you and your partner celebrate each other’s gifts and hold each other’s wounds with compassion. Practicing these steps with a loved one is going to deepen the bond between the two of you, as well as your own capacity to live in the world and to love in this world.

    So try this technique and I think that you’ll find your compassion to yourself and other people increases in surprising and wonderful ways. Thank you so much for listening.

    If you like what you heard, I want to encourage you to go to deeperdatingpodcast.com and join my mailing list for a host of free resources and information about so many different programs that I run or that people I respect run. Thank you so much for that, and I look forward to seeing you in the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.

  • The Two Things You Need To Find In A Partner [EP063]

    There are two things that you need to find in a partner. If you put these two traits front and center, you’ll give yourself the very best shot at a future of happiness. These are also the two traits each of us needs to develop if we want the privilege of a love-filled life. Looking for these traits, and developing them in ourselves, are the greatest dating skills of all. Welcome to your best and truest dating adventure!

    Table of Contents

    Episode Introduction: Two Things You Need

    Two Things You Need

    What are the two things you need to look for in finding the person who’s right for you and becoming the person who can be right for someone else? Stay tuned to this episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast to find out.

    Hello, everybody, and welcome to The Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page, and I’m a psychotherapist and the host of this show and the author of the bestselling book Deeper Dating: How to Drop the Games of Seduction and Discover the Power of Intimacy.

    And today I’m going to be talking about the two important things that you need to look for to find the partner who’s right for you. This week and every week, I’m going to share the greatest tools and insights that I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing in your life and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love.

    And if you want to learn more about the Deeper Dating path to real intimacy, just go to deeperdatingpodcast.com. You can sign up for my mailing list and get a number of free gifts and learn more about how to use these ideas to transform your own intimacy journey. You’ll also find a transcript of this entire episode and of every episode.

    And I’m so excited to share that there is now a Deeper Dating downloadable course where I get to work intimately through 11 classes with you, taking you through each step of this journey and kind of distilling down the most important insights that I’ve learned in these years of doing this work, then guiding you through those in audio classes, one video class, and two workbooks.

    Subscribe and Leave Ken a Review

    Subscribe and Leave Ken a Review
    Leave Ken a Review

    So if you’re interested in tackling this work in a deeper, richer way, this is a fabulous way to do it. I encourage you to go to deeperdatingpodcast.com, and you can look under Deeper Dating course and find out more about it.

    Also, I want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment. And if you’re experiencing any serious psychological conditions or symptoms, please seek professional help. And finally, please do feel free to subscribe and leave a review. That is always a wonderful, wonderful gift.

    Okay, so let’s jump in. So as a psychotherapist and a coach who has specialized in the search for love and as someone who was chronically single for decades and constantly is a student of intimacy, as well as a teacher, I really have come to believe that mindful dating leads us more quickly to real love and to richer, more fulfilling lives.

    What I’ve also come to find and believe is that the way we date often, or usually, determines the kind of love that we find, and the quality of love we find determines the very quality of our lives.

    So for most people, the search for a wonderful relationship is truly one of the most important missions of our adult lives. But the majority of dating advice, as I’ve said before, treats it like some kind of slick package of superficial actions or behavior tweaks that promise to result in getting our dream person to fall in love with us.

    Two Things You Need to Keep Someone Interested in You

    Two Things You Need To Keep Someone Interested In You
    Photographer: Joanna Kosinska | Source: Unsplash

    Learn this trick to keep women more interested in you. Here’s what you’re doing wrong and why men are avoiding you. Here’s what you need to do to become irresistible. This is just anguish to hear because the journey to find love is one that is so much more a wisdom journey than a quick fix.

    It’s just not about tricks and gimmicks. These skills are the deepest skills of intimacy, and they’re the very skills that every one you learn will help you keep your relationship alive and thriving when you do find it. This is a life journey. It’s not a quick fix.

    But, there are absolutely certain steps which we talk about here, and which many really serious and wonderful teachers talk about, that do transform our search for love. So that means that dating success is not about luck. It’s not.

    It’s really it’s not about having this smoking hot body. It’s not about being willing to suffer through countless bad dates. It’s about some really key wisdom lessons, and our search for love demands our deepest respect.

    So here’s a question. Is your approach to dating helping you deepen your capacity to give and receive love? If it’s not, you can find a new way to do this that will. And when you do, you will move that much more quickly to the love that you’re really seeking.

    I’m going to share two concepts that I think are pillars for the wiser search for love. Each of these two things asks something very powerful and very challenging of us and help us discriminate what kind of attractions, what kind of people can truly be the people with whom we could build a happy, rich future.

    Embracing the Two Approaches

    Embracing these two pieces of information, these two approaches will make our lives happier and more meaningful and richer in intimacy. And for each of these parts, there’s a dual journey, working on yourself to grow in this way and looking for this in the person you’re looking for.

    So the first one is, “does my soul feel safe with this person?” That, and I’ve spoken about this before, is the key question that when we ask it we shift our entire journey to love. It saddens me immensely to think of how many people, myself included for decades, and decades, and decades, don’t make that the central question.

    And for each one of you, I’m very excited to think about what’s going to shift for you when you make that the central question. Now, obviously, you have to be sexually attracted to this person. The person has to be of the gender or genders you’re interested in.

    There are so many specifics, and those are all good, and all real, and all become clear in their own time. But when this becomes your central question, you really, really are on the quickest path to happiness and finding love. And I truly, truly believe that. It’s not just am I attracted to this person, it’s does my soul feel safe with that person.

    Attraction will take care of itself. If you’re not attracted to the person, it’s not going to be a match. But when you make this first your first question, you will be dignifying yourself and people will notice your spine a little bit straighter, your heart a little bit clearer, a sense of like “don’t screw with this person” because you will be dignifying who you really are.

    The First Stage

    So the first thing is that question, and so there’s different parts to that. I think that in the first stage when we look for people, when we’re looking for someone, we just look for the person we’re most attracted to because that’s what we’ve been taught. That’s the simplest, and that’s what makes the most sense.

    However, the people that we’re the most wildly and quickly attracted to for many of us are the people who embody the worst characteristics of our primary caregivers. And our psyche wants to go back to the scene of the crime and get this person for all the different reasons that we do this, who doesn’t really love us or love us right to finally love us and love us right.

    It’s the path to hell. And often, it’s the people we’re most intrigued and excited by that have those attributes. So in that first stage, we often choose people who ultimately are unkind, or unavailable, or self-involved, or maybe angry, or demeaning, not actively addicted, not good choices, but we don’t know better.

    It feels like home in some ways perhaps, so that’s what we choose. And so many of us do this at first because we haven’t been taught better or we don’t want to listen because we’re so crazy for this person and we’re so young or so kind of unaware of the deeper truths around this.

    So that’s kind of the first stage, is these choices that are really not good choices. And so many of us do this and so many of us spend a long time here.

    Understanding the Difference Between the Two Things You Need

    Understanding The Difference Between The Two Things You Need
    Photographer: Franck V. | Source: Unsplash

    Then, when we grow, when we start asking ourselves, “Does my soul feel safe with this person? Do I feel inspired by who this person is? Is this person an attraction of inspiration as opposed to an attraction of deprivation?” Something I also talk about. And if you go to the show notes, you’ll be able to see the links to the episodes where I describe how you can understand the difference between those two circuitries of attraction.

    So when we learn these lessons, often, the next people we end up in relationship with are not it yet, but they’re stepping stones. This is something I’ve seen so many times. We pass out of phase one with people who really aren’t safe, and we move into step two.

    And step two is there are people where there can be moments of much deeper intimacy and connection. They have more qualities that inspire us, and they’re not cruel or unavailable, but maybe they’re not really completely available.

    And maybe some of the moments of connection are incandescent, but then they disappear or somehow they’re just not really there. And we know we’re doing better. We know we’re making better choices, so we’re excited and we don’t want to let go of this person because they’re closer to what we want, but they’re not really available, or they don’t really treat us right, or they’re not really safe. But they’re closer.

    That’s stage two. And I’ve seen again and again in the journey of people’s growths that there is a stage two, that we don’t just go from stage one to stage three, which is a healthy, really good relationship. There’s this stage two process that involves a lot of learning.

    Acknowledging the Ways We Say No to Love

    Now, just to back up for a minute, in that stage one section, we need to look as well at ways that we are unavailable. It does not mean that we are failures in love. I know for me that some of the most precious and important work that I have done, the most central work to be able to have the love that I have in my life is to acknowledge the ways that I say no to love, the ways in which loves scare me, shut me down, the ways in which I get numb, the ways in which I get insensitive, push people away.

    These are some of my greatest life lessons, and I’m incredibly thankful to those. So that’s a piece of the journey, too, in step one. Where are we unavailable for love? A number of episodes ago, I spoke about our walls to love and how we can change, and understand, and transform them.

    So that’s really good work for anybody who is admitting and acknowledging ways that they push love away and not knowing what to do about that. And the same applies to step two, that we may be, as we grow, emotionally and spiritually, more able to show those parts of ourselves, but then we flee. Then we push the other person away. Then we disappear.

    I’ve seen so much of that, and I’ve been so much of that in my life and in my journey to find love. So in this stage, we want to get to the point where we are with someone who is available to do that work, who doesn’t flee, who does not hide behind addictions, compulsion, and patterns that ultimately make them not available for the real work.

    The Stage of Having Someone Who Stays

    Someone doesn’t have to be not afraid of intimacy because that would be absolutely nobody. We’re all afraid of intimacy. But it’s someone who has learned the lessons where they could stay present and not flee and be able to commit even in the presence of all of their fears. That’s the kind of person we’re looking for.

    And the third stage is with someone who in all of their humanity, treasures us, loves us, and is safe, and we treasure them, and love them, and are safe too. Perfectly safe? Absolutely not, because intimacy is a process of rupture and repair. But essentially safe, essentially wanting to do the work, essentially available. And that’s stage three.

    So I want to ask all of you to consider these points and thinking about where you are, stage one, stage two, stage three, in the people that you’re dating and in the person who you are and what you show in your own dating life. And to take this question, “does my soul feel safe with this person”, and let that become your question.

    I literally don’t really have words for the leverage and the power of what that will give you when you make that your first question and your central question. And I really am hungry to hear your stories as you do that because it will change you, it will ground you, it will shift your sense of balance in the world, and it will speed your path to finding love and recognizing healthy love when it does come your way.

    The Second of the Two Things You Need

    The Second of The Two Things You Need
    Photographer: Alexander Schimmeck | Source: Unsplash

    Second – the second dynamic is to develop kindness and understanding and only pursue people who do the same. So when it comes to dating, we have been taught that cool trumps kind. And it’s really misguided and it is supported by a plethora of dating apps, and dating approaches, and dating events, and articles, and pieces of advice that take us away from our humanity.

    It is the fast track to emotional pain. I really often say that “next” has become the modern dating call. And when we do that, when that becomes our dating call, when that’s what we’re doing next, next, next, swipe, swipe, swipe, we’re looking for immediate physical attraction and we relentlessly judge other people and ourselves according to this checklist which might have validity but is not in the same axis as what’s the connection like.

    Who’s this human being? What is their sexiness? What is their warmth? So why has not anybody told us this thing that the research backs up? That kindness and understanding are two of the greatest aphrodisiacs that exist? So in your next dating experience, try practicing a little more kindness, and understanding, and generosity.

    Go against the tide and see if it changes your inner state and the quality of your date, because chances are that it will. And the more you make that conscious choice, the more discriminating you’ll become about people who value those same qualities and do the hard work of living them. Really, when you make that choice, you’ll be like, “This cost me, man. “

    Wiser Self Protection

    “This took work. I want somebody who’s going to be able to do that work, too.” When you do that, you discover that wiser self-protection is less about keeping your distance and it’s more about becoming fiercely discriminating about the things that matter the most. Some things you might want to consider when you’re dating someone.

    How does this person treat clerks, and restaurant servers, and people who are for whatever reason vulnerable or don’t have anything particular to give to that person? Think back on that. How does this person treat the people that matter most to you? I remember being smitten by somebody who I was dating, and he wasn’t that kind to my friends.

    And my friends were very patient until they started getting really annoyed. But I noticed that, and he was not kind to me as well. It took me a while to realize that, but I saw it and felt it with how he treated my friends. So how much does this person consider the needs of other people? Here’s a huge one.

    Does this person listen to your feelings with care and interest? Are they able to listen? I’ve heard about this new term in dating called Kanyeing, which is only talking about yourself. I think that’s pretty funny, but so many people do that. And does this person have an innate generosity of spirit?

    Which I really want to point out is not the same thing as being romantically demonstrative. Somebody could be romantically, all flowers, and chocolate, and generous, and compliments, and all of that, but that’s different than their character being essentially generous, and that is what you’re looking for.

    Students of Intimacy

    Instead of just letting yourself be seduced by that kind of swept off your feet kind of generosity, which is something different in many cases. And usually, you will know in a relatively short amount of time if your date is someone who truly cares about these values. And if so, you have something to celebrate. And if not, I recommend that you protect yourself and move on. I say all the time that young, or old, or gay, or straight, or single, or coupled, we’re all students of intimacy.

    And just about every point in our lives, there are these deep and essential challenges that we have to tackle in order to find love, keep love alive, and become the people that we need to become. Maybe at this point you’re feeling the need to increase your compassion. Maybe you’re feeling the need to increase your self-compassion and self-care.

    Maybe you need to kind of steel your resolve to find love and take action. Maybe it’s about being truthful. Maybe it’s about being vulnerable. Or maybe it’s about protecting and saving a relationship that’s really important, that’s kind of losing ground. Take a minute now and think. You can pause the recording as well. What is up for you?

    Intimacy Lesson from Finding the Two Things You Need

    Intimacy Lesson from Finding the Two Things You Need
    Photographer: Dayne Topkin | Source: Unsplash

    What’s your intimacy lesson now? What’s your prickly, thorny thing that is really your great gift? Because as you connect to that challenge and as you commit to work with it, you will grow, you will change, and that will make you someone who can bear, and handle, and enjoy the power of love in your life.

    So thank you so much for listening to this episode. I want to encourage you to go to deeperdatingpodcast.com and join my mailing list so you can get all of the information, all of the classes, all of the free things, and all of the courses that I teach, and kind of get to know this work more. That’s deeperdatingpodcast.com. So thank you all for listening, and I’ll see you next week on The Deeper Dating Podcast.

  • How To Discover Your Greatest Intimacy Gifts [EP062]

    In this episode, you’ll learn how to discover your greatest intimacy gifts. These “Core Gifts” are the key to finding, attracting, and growing deep and true love. As you learn to name and honor your unique Core Gifts, your dating life will shift in profound and unexpectedly wonderful ways. By the end of this episode, you’ll have a new sense of your own greatest intimacy gifts.

    Table of Contents

    Episode Introduction: Intimacy Gifts

    Intimacy Gifts

    What is the single greatest key for being able to bear the heat of intimacy, to be able to find love and keep it flourishing and discover the love in your own heart? Stay tuned to this episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast to find out.

    Hello everybody and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist. I’m the author of the bestselling book Deeper Dating and the host of this podcast. And today we’re going to talk about what I kind of think is the most important piece of all in anybody’s search for inner and outer love, your core gifts.

    Every week in this podcast I’m going to share with you the greatest tools that I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love, and the skills of love are the greatest skills of all for a happy and rich and meaningful life.

    And if you want to learn more about the deeper dating path to real intimacy, just go to deeperdatingpodcast.com, and if you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get free gifts there and you’ll learn more about how to use these ideas to transform your intimacy journey. And you’ll also find a complete transcript of this entire episode.

    And I’m so excited to say that for anyone who wants to take this work to the next level, I’ve just come out with a downloadable online course, put in many, many, many, many hours kind of encapsulating the essence of what I think is the most important core of this work.

    Subscribe and Leave Ken a Review

    Subscribe and Leave Ken a Review
    Leave Ken a Review

    And so in this online course I will guide you through a series of 11 classes, one video and the rest audio step-by-step along with the workbook, taking you through all of the journey that I’ve come to understand as the most powerful, effective, and healing journey to find love and keep it flourishing.

    So you can just go to deeperdatingpodcast.com and look at Deeper Dating Course to learn more about that. And I hope that many of you join and take that course.

    Also, I just want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational. It’s not medical or psychological advice or treatment for any condition. And if you’re experiencing any serious psychological conditions, please seek professional help.

    And finally, people have left me the most beautiful reviews and it’s an incredible gift to me and to the community if you’re touched or moved or believe in the work that I’m doing to just leave a review and to subscribe. So thanks so much for that. And let’s jump in.

    This is the heart and soul of I’d say the biggest lesson that I have learned in my decades and decades as a psychotherapist and as a person for whom love and the search for love has been incredibly important. Here’s what it is.

    The Place Where Our Intimacy Gifts Resides

    The Place Where Our Intimacy Gifts Resides
    Photographer: JR Korpa | Source: Unsplash

    The places we’re the most scared to reveal, the places we’ve been hurt the most, the places where we have the most insecurity, the places where our power or our tenderness frightens us the most are our core gifts.

    And they are the absolute greatest key to being able to find love, feel love, and have a home in this world and live our mission. The very things we’re scaredest of, scaredest, is that a word?

    That we’re the most tender about, the most uncertain about, the places where the world has understood us the least, are our genius and the degree to which we embrace those parts of ourselves and name them and come to learn and understand their fire, their tenderness, their magic, their treasure, and their importance.

    To that degree, we are going to be attracted to people who love us for who we are, and we’re going to be able to build a life that is full and rich with love. Now is that journey easy? Of course not. Is every day a new set of challenges? Absolutely.

    But it’s a simple and profound formula that the more we love and honor and dignify those parts of ourselves, the more successful we will be in love, and the more successful we will be as human beings living in this world. And the more successful we will be at being us.

    So what are these core gifts, and how can we find and discover what they are and learn to back them and dignify them, and use them, and treasure them? Well, that’s going to be a subject that I cover in a number of different episodes.

    Our Intimacy Gifts Being the Center of the Center

    And I realized today that I have done 61 episodes so far and only now am I touching this in a very direct way. And it’s because it’s such a kind of tender and important and profound piece but also such a vast piece that I kind of kept waiting.

    Although I alluded to it and spoke about it in many different ways. This is an episode that is devoted to this center of the center of all of this work, which is our core gifts.

    So here’s an image to get us started with this process. And it’s an image that I have used in other episodes. It’s a fabulous and ultra-simple image. It’s the image of a target. And so if you imagine a target and you imagine this target has concentric rings, and that target is the topography of your psyche, your being, and your life.

    It’s the topography of your inner world. And the closer you get to the center of that target, the closer you’re getting to the deepest, most tender, most powerful parts of your humanity. The places where you have felt life the most deeply, the places where you get the most touched and affected by life in joy, in pain, in longing, in creativity, and in intimacy.

    But that’s a very powerful place the center of that target. It’s where our deepest hurts are, it’s where our fiercest power lies. It’s where our uniqueness comes into its own fullness in the language of our being and our mission comes into its own fullness.

    Defensive Ways of Living

    And we know that that can be a scary thing to live in the world because it sets us apart in some ways, and we fear that we won’t be loved when we show those parts of ourselves. And maybe we haven’t been loved, and often we are the most hurt around our greatest gifts. We’ll be talking about that more.

    That’s as you move in closer to the center and then so because the heat is so great in that way of living the heat is so great, as we get closer to the beating heart of our humanity, to the core of our authenticity, we protect ourselves. We create airbrushed versions of ourselves that are kind of more built so that we don’t get hurt and we get approved of.

    Those are kind of defensive ways of living, and they protect us from the fierceness of what’s inside. I’ve often quoted William Blake who says that we’re here for just a bit of time on this earth to learn to bear the beams of love. So because the beams of love are so fierce, we create airbrushed versions of ourselves.

    And if you’ll imagine the further out you get in this target is the more protected and defended you become. And when you reach a certain point, the world becomes a lot colder and a lot emptier and more and more addictions and compulsions can take hold. Things like workaholism and a whole range of addictions, all the ways that we kind of avoid the heat of our being.

    The Heat of Our Intimacy Gifts

    The Heat of Our Intimacy Gifts
    Photographer: Armando Ascorve Morales | Source: Unsplash

    So the further out you get, the safer you get in a way, because you’re further away from the heat of your core. But the further out you go, the less safe you are because the emptier you become, the less true you become. The more you build a life based on a projected self that’s not really who you are.

    So this is the map. This is the map right here that we’re going to be working with. Once you get, no one really lives in the center of the center of the center except very enlightened beings because you can’t just jump there and get there. It’s a journey.

    To be able to bear that part of you and live it well in the world takes a set of skills of such profound maturity and integration that we have to grow into overtime. But there’s a certain closeness that we hit that I call our gift zone.

    It’s when we may not be right in this center, but we feel the heat and the warmth of our humanity and we hold it with a sense of compassion and space.

    And any time we feel our humanity in sadness, in joy, in peace, in quietness, in connection, in bewilderment, in creativity, whatever it is that we’re feeling in our humanity and the more we can hold that with a sense of compassion, what I call cupped hands, we are in our gift zone.

    We are somehow illumined when we’re in that space. We are very beautiful. We are in our magic. And in this zone, we are going to be so much more attractive to the people who are looking truly, deeply for someone like us.

    Living With Our Intimacy Gifts

    We will also be feeling the flow of our own unique love because we’re in the place where we can love the world and love ourselves. So this is a sacred, sacred space. And quite simply, the more we live in our gift zone, the richer our life will be in all aspects, in all arenas, including creativity and love.

    In this space lie our core gifts and our core gifts, they’re kind of the way that we are built. They’re the way that we’re organized. They’re the center of the things that matter most to us.

    And core gifts are like fingerprints in a way. Everyone has fingerprints and there are certain basic things that are kind of universal in our core gifts. Our need for love, our need for connectedness, our need for freedom, our need for independence, our need to give, our need to receive. All these things are very, very basic and universal, but like fingerprints for each one of us those core gifts are also unique.

    And for so many different reasons we go through life not being able to name or own them, and the biggest reason that’s true is because we haven’t been taught to have gift eyes, to see the importance of these gifts, and to discover them not only in our joys but in our insecurities and our pains because they can be found most quickly and easily in our deepest hurts and our greatest joys.

    In a moment, I’m going to give you some ideas about how you can begin to discover and name your core gifts, but first I just want to read something from my book Deeper Dating about core gifts.

    Intimacy Gifts Coming From the Core

    “Your core gifts lie at the center of your search for intimacy because they’re the deepest and most sensitive parts of you. The parts that feel love and the effects of love most intensely. Core gifts come from our core. They feel essential to our identity. If we look at our lives, we find areas of particular sensitivity, vulnerability, and passion that are triggered by similar things.”

    Something that hurts your feelings might off someone else’s back. Something that makes you feel deeply inspired may have little impact on someone else. We experience the most joy and the most pain around these highly charged parts of our being. So you can take a minute and think about this right now.

    In relationships, what are the things that give you the greatest joy? The greatest sense of connection? They might not hit your partner in quite the same way, but they’re what really touch your heart. They speak the language. They’re your love language. They’re your intimacy language.

    What are the things that bother you the most in your relationships that other people might not feel them in the same way or with the same intensity? I want to say that if you have listened to this podcast this far, I imagine that you are someone who has a quality of deep sensitivity that may have gotten you in trouble or hurt you in your life.

    Because I don’t think that people would be listening to this episode if they didn’t have a passion for deeper intimacy and a kind of felt sense of the importance of those tender places in their heart.

    The Compelling Pull of Our Intimacy Gifts

    The Compelling Pull of Our Intimacy Gifts
    Photographer: James Padolsey | Source: Unsplash

    I think that this work tends to attract people who have a deep sensitivity that maybe they’ve been told they were over-sensitive or deep compassion or generosity or maybe a deep kind of intensity that the world has often told them is too much.

    So, I’ll continue – in your relationships, you might be most prone to being angry or distant when you feel wounded around your core gifts. When you feel inspiration, validation, and acceptance around them, you’ll shine. As you come to see the patterns of how you’re affected by the experiences in your relationships, your core gifts will become clearer to you. Core gifts aren’t a gimmick. They’re not a packageable commodity that works like a genie to meet our deepest desires.

    They’re the ache, the compelling pull, the inner reaching that we sometimes honor and sometimes try to silence. They’re the music that keeps playing below the surface of our minds and to acknowledge your core gifts is unequivocally to create a deeper intimacy with your most essential self.

    So in my book, in my intensive, in my work with clients, my coaching work with clients, and in this new online course, a huge amount of the journey is about discovering and naming your core gifts. It’s a process that is so beautiful and so important that I devote a huge amount, and so counter-intuitive that it’s really important to devote a lot of time to helping people be able to pick out these core gifts.

    So what are the questions that we can ask ourselves to discover our core gifts? And again, there’s going to be a lot more about this.

    Getting to the Essence of Love

    Well there’s so much more in the book and in the course, but there is going to be so much more than I talk about in this podcast as well to help you learn to discover and honor your core gifts, which is just a journey of its kind of getting to the essence of love, liberation, and self dignifying.

    So the questions are, and you can note this in your day to day life, what are the things that touch you the most in your heart? What are the things that give you the most sense of inspiration?

    And the next time you feel that instead of just thinking, “Oh, this is a nice moment,” or, “I feel good,” actually kind of reflect backwards and think, what does this say about what matters most to me? How might this be a core gift? What is it in this situation that is really touching my heart? These are questions that are the foundation of true, authentic self-love.

    Another question is, what are the things that hurt your heart? That’s not such an easy one, but it’s such an important one because you’ll have experiences in your day to day life that sometimes they even feel like, did you ever get a paper cut and you don’t even know you got hurt. You don’t even feel it, but maybe five minutes later you go, “Ow, that stung.”

    That kind of situation where you’re in a social setting and you think everything’s fine. You’re telling yourself it’s okay. You don’t feel as good, but you’re telling yourself it’s okay and then all of a sudden later you say, “Ouch. There was something that didn’t feel right in that. That didn’t feel good.”

    Micro Ruptures Around Our Intimacy Gifts

    Those moments are gold because as they say, intimacy is a journey of rupture and repair. And we feel these micro ruptures most deeply in the places of our core gifts. So the things that bother you that maybe don’t bother anyone else are treasures because they tell you about what matters most to you.

    If you look at the things that hurt your heart the most, and if you look at the things that move and fill your heart the most, and you kind of put them together, it’s like a connect the dots puzzle, a picture emerges. And that picture is of your core gifts, the things that touch you and matter the most deeply.

    Here’s the deal, the degree to which we dishonor those, and this is a formula that has become so clear to me in the work that I do and I think really speaks to a much deeper physics of dating and intimacy. And I’ve seen it so many times that I just know it’s true, and I’m still in awe of a kind of magic that goes with it.

    To the degree that you honor and dignify and name those parts of yourself, you will be connected to the stream of love that is who you are and you will become sexually and romantically attracted to people who honor that part of you.

    The degree to which you don’t yet treasure those parts of yourself. This is an ongoing journey for all of us. There’s always more, there’s always more. But the degree to which you don’t treasure those extra sensitivities and honor them and see them as portals to your greatest self.

    Naming Our Intimacy Gifts

    Naming Our Intimacy Gifts
    Photographer: Joanna Kosinska | Source: Unsplash

    The degree to which you can’t do that with those sensitivities or passions or intensities, you will be sexually and romantically attracted to people that chip away at your self worth, that end up with you feeling like there’s a thumb on top of you, that there’s something wrong, that there’s something wrong with you in your very existence, in your way of being.

    As you learn to name your core gifts and finally dignify them, and we can go through like a lifetime and not have done that. And I’ll talk about why that is in another episode. But the key is the degree to which you learn to honor those, your world will change.

    For example, in my intensives, which are six month long journeys for small groups of people who want to really take this in a very, very deep way, again and again when the core gift work is done in the course to the point that people have a visceral living sense of those parts of themselves, so much changes. Discrimination increases.

    People say, “Oh, I can’t accept what I was accepting before.” People start honoring who they are and asking for what they need. I’ve seen this again and again and I’ve seen it in my own life because my attributes of sensitivity and my fierce hunger for truth, and intimacy, and authenticity got me in trouble my whole life.

    And the act of discovering that those were my soul gifts was the process that changed my world and changed my life. And one that I still live every day but at a different level now.

    The Beginning Of Understanding What Our Intimacy Gifts Are

    So in my book and in my course, I teach step-by-step processes to help you be able to name and identify your core gifts. But the beginning of that is the understanding what hurts your heart and what quickens and fills your heart. That’s the place to start.

    The other question that you can ask that is a fabulous important part. As you begin to come to understand, and name, and identify, and articulate those gifts inside yourself. Here’s another fabulous question, in what relationships do these gifts feel deprived of oxygen? What does that feel like when these gifts are deprived of oxygen? Those are the old patterns.

    In what relationships do these gifts feel like they can breathe, like they can play, like they can grow, like there’s room for them to exist? Those are the treasure relationships. Those are the relationships that are X marks the spot for where we want to build our life in this world, for where we want to build our home in this world.

    So these are some rich, rich questions to think about, and I really encourage you to get back to me by going to deeperdatingpodcast.com and going to ‘Ask Ken’ and sharing your experiences with these experiments and with this new way of understanding what your core gifts are.

    When you go to deeperdatingpodcast.com, you can join my mailing list and learn more about all the work that I’m doing. So thank you so much for listening and I look forward to speaking with you on the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.

  • Q&A With Ken: Expert Advice For All Your Questions About Love, Dating And Sex [EP061]

    Listeners bring their most important questions about love, sex, dating and relationships to Ken–and get his personal direct advice in Ken’s Q and A podcasts.

    Once a month, Ken answers your personal questions about love, dating, sex and more. Today’s powerful questions are all about sexual and romantic attraction.

    Table of Contents

    Episode Introduction: Expert Advice

    Expert Advice

    In this episode, I’m going to answer your questions about love, attraction, and romance. For example, “I met someone really great, but I’m just not physically attracted to him. What do I do?” Or, “I met someone really great and he’s not been ready or wanting to have sex yet, and it’s been a few months. How do I handle that?”

    Stay tuned to the Deeper Dating Podcast to hear my advice on these and other questions about love, sex, and romance.

    Hello, everybody, and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page, and I’m a psychotherapist, a coach, the author of the bestselling book Deeper Dating, and the host of this show.

    And in this podcast, I’m going to be bringing you the greatest tools I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love, and the skills of love are the greatest skills of all for a happy life.

    And today, I’m going to be answering your questions about love and sex. The questions today focus particularly on the subject of attraction, sexual and romantic attraction, so I’m excited to dig into that.

    And if you want to learn more about the Deeper Dating path to real intimacy, just go to deeperdatingpodcast.com. You’ll find a complete transcript of this episode, and you will also hear about my new downloadable course where I guide you through this journey step by step.

    And if you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get free gifts and learn more about how to use these ideas to transform your own intimacy journey.

    Subscribe and Leave Ken a Review

    Subscribe and Leave Ken a Review
    Leave Ken A Review

    I also want to say that everything I’m going to share in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment. And if you’re experiencing any kind of serious psychological or psychiatric conditions, please do seek professional help.

    Finally, if you like what you’re learning here, and I hope that you do, it would be a fabulous thank you if you subscribed and left me a review. The reviews that I get are so beautiful, and they really encourage other people as well to listen to the show. So thank you so much for that. Let’s dive in.

    So I’ve got four different questions, and I think they’re all really exciting and all hit on really important points. By the way, if you want to leave your question on here so that I can answer it on the podcast, just go to deeperdatingpodcast.com, click Ask Ken, and you’ll be able to actually record a message for me.

    So the first message is from Patty. Patty says, “I’ve been listening to your podcasts, and I have a situation. I’ve been dating my boyfriend for two months now. I’m 52, and it’s the first time I’ve ever dated anyone like him. He’s romantic. He’s respectful. He’s everything that I’ve been looking for.”

    And I just want to interrupt here, folks, and say that this is what I hear again and again, and you’ll be hearing that in these questions.

    Because when you tackle your search for love from a place of really dignifying your vulnerabilities, and your humanity, and looking only for someone who does the same, your entire search for love begins to change.

    Expert Advice on Emotional and Romantic Needs

    Expert Advice on Emotional and Romantic Needs
    Photographer: Jamie Street| Source: Unsplash

    So she goes on to say, “We have not yet had sex after two months. We’ve been dating consistently two times a week, and we see each other at a mutual event that we do pretty much every day. And my question is, should I be concerned that there might be a deeper reason that he doesn’t want it to move forward? He made a comment about wanting to develop an emotional relationship first.” So feedback on this, my thoughts about this situation.

    So two months and not having sex could be okay. But my question is, is the conversation romantic? Does this person talk about, and do you talk about, your romantic interest in each other? Also, is there physical affection?

    Is there some kissing? Is there hand holding? Is that developing, and is that growing? If the answer to those things are all yes, then that’s fabulous. That’s really good. Some people just take a longer time.

    However, here’s what I want to say about this also. In the interest of kind of dating in a newer and wiser way, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have needs, emotional needs and romantic needs. And you have a right to ask him these very questions. Is there something to be concerned about? Does he feel like this is growing?

    Also, I just want to say that there are ways to cultivate sexual connection that don’t involve direct sex, like holding hands, like talking about your romantic interest in each other, like exchanging eye gazing, like saying romantic things together, like talking about how you would like to be together at some point physically.

    A Beach Ball Effect

    If none of those things are getting any good response, then I would say there is something to be concerned about here. But the bottom line is this, that the heart and the soul of intimacy is “into-me-see”.

    If you are holding back on expressing your concerns and your worries, of course you want to do it in a positive way. You just want to ask him how he’s feeling, what he’s thinking. Does he see this as progressing? But if you’re holding back on expressing those things, then what you’re going to do is create this kind of beach ball effect.

    A beach ball won’t stay under water forever if you push it down. And if we take our needs in a relationship and push them down in the interest of being unselfish, in the interest of being patient, we can only do that but so long and it’s going to end up biting us in the butt.

    It’ll come out in a way that just isn’t helpful, either in resentment, or in self dislike, or in looking for other people. So I just want to give you space to realize that your needs are important here, too. He sounds like an amazing man, and he sounds like the kind of guy that you can have this conversation with.

    The next question is actually from another Patty. “Hi, Ken. My name’s Patty. I’m 42, and I have two kids, a nine-year-old girl and a two-year-old boy, and I’m raising them by myself. I also own a business. And it sounds like a lot, but it doesn’t feel like a lot.

    Expert Advice on Finding a Date Who Sees Beyond Your Baggages

    I’ve got it down, and they have a really great life and great friends, and I make time for myself to meet people, to go out with my friends, and I have interests. The more time I have, I try to go do things where I might meet people who have the same interest.

    I’ve been working on the things from your book and your podcast and leading with my books, and I have been meeting more quality people,” and folks, this does happen, and it’s such a joy, “and getting dates with men I actually would like to build relationships with.”

    “But the problem is that I’ve been having is that men don’t see our lifestyles meshing in the long run. I dated one person for three months who was pretty great, but he said that he’d be going from five kids to two kids on the days that he doesn’t have his kids, and he wanted a break from having kids basically.

    And I went on a few dates with a really nice guy who I thought we’d end up dating. But by the end of the third date he said I’m smart, and attractive, and one of the kindest people he’s ever met, but he doesn’t see it working in the long run because our lifestyles are so different with me having young kids.

    So I was just wondering, how do I go about dating and finding somebody who will take my life, my whole life, and with whom I can build a relationship with, with small kids?” So as someone who adopted a child as a single dad at 45 years old and then was dating with a child, I really do relate to this.

    Expert Advice on Shifting the Fields

    Expert Advice on Shifting the Fields
    Photographer: John Petalcurin | Source: Unsplash

    What I want to say to you, Patty, and I want to say this to every one of you who is trying to date in these more conscious ways and beginning to see shifts.

    One of the shifts you will notice is that you will lose your taste for people that chip away at your sense of deep self-worth. And you’ll find yourself meeting somehow, almost amazingly, more people who honor you for who you are and where there’s a mutual deep sense of respect. It’s amazing how this works, and it’s true.

    What I would say first, Patty, is celebrate that because your field is shifting. What I also want to say is it’s continuing to shift, and it will continue to shift. So you will continue to meet people until you meet someone who celebrates the fact that you have young children.

    I just want to say there are a lot of guys out there who would love to have kids, and your kids are pretty young. So that could be a really, really wonderful thing. For the right guy, this will not get in the way. For the right guy for whom you are the right woman, he might have to go through some changes and some processes, but he won’t want to let you go. So keep looking.

    I know that it’s a complicated thing. And sometimes, the person we end up meeting is not as tall as we wanted them to be, doesn’t have as much hair as we want them to have, isn’t as whatever as we want them to be. They have a different kind of job than we want. The universe does that to us.

    Close But Not Quite

    But if the essential stuff is still there, if there’s attraction and an inner sense of celebration, we have to go through some changes. So I do encourage you to, when someone is really clear that they do not want to be with someone who has kids or has kids of your age, honor that. Respect that.

    If they change their mind down the road, they can come back to you. But keep looking because they are there. And in your online profiles and when you meet people, you can talk about this pretty much upfront, and you should, so that people kind of can make their own choices and so that you don’t end up getting hurt in the long run.

    What you have is precious. You have two awesome kids. That’s a treasure. For the right person, that is going to be a wonderful thing. These guys that you’ve been meeting are closer to the mark, but they’re not at the mark. Don’t give up.

    So next, a man who didn’t leave his name brought up a really interesting question, one that I’d really like to address. He said, “My question relates to things you’ve said about the people we sometimes pass over. You said it in the context of online dating, but I’m sure it could apply more generally.

    You even used the classic number system, like people who are a 10, which is like the hottest of the hot, versus people who are, let’s say, a zero where there’s absolutely no sexual attraction, and the people in the middle.

    Attracted to the Nines and Tens

    You discussed those fives, sixes, and sevens that we sometimes tend to pass by too quickly,” and I’d include the fours and even the threes in that, “and not recognize the potential that’s there and instead only go for the eights, and the nines, and the tens that may be flashier or catch our attention.”

    Often, those people are so wildly attractive because, couples theory shows, particularly Harville Hendrix and his brilliant work, shows that we are often attracted to these nines and tens because unconsciously they embody some of the worst characteristics of our primary caregivers and we want to go back to the scene of the crime to let this kind of proxy for that person finally love us right, which is often a recipe for disaster.

    Not that you shouldn’t go for nines or tens, but just be aware of that. Also, look for the people with whom there is a spark, even if it’s not a crazy pyrotechnical spark at first.

    But his question is, and he says, “My question is I’m sure I don’t hear you saying that we should settle. And I’m not talking in terms of looks about nines, tens, and eights.”

    He says, “I’m talking about the total person, someone that I might rate at a nine, or an eight, or a 10 for all aspects of who they are. It seems like to some extent in a healthy way a person should want to go for someone like that. So I wonder if you could discuss that a little bit more.”

    Expert Advice on How to Shift From Attractions of Deprivation to Attractions of Inspiration

    Expert Advice on How to Shift From Attractions of Deprivation to Attractions of Inspiration
    Photographer: Matt 📸 | Source: Unsplash

    I would say I do have a response to that. Mark Manson talks about people who are a “fuck yes”. That’s what he says. He says, “Why would you not go for someone who is a ‘fuck yes’?” And I absolutely 100% agree. You do want to go for someone who your heart’s bursting with excitement at who they are.

    But here’s the thing. Often, this kind of gripping, what I call attraction of deprivation, feels like an 8, or a 9, or a 10 at first and not for the right reasons. Often, these people excite us so wildly because we sense their unavailability, and so then we want them even more.

    Many of us who are used to that kind of experience push away the people who are the fives, the sixes, the sevens because they’re just not unavailable enough.

    But here’s the thing. If you’re dating someone who is what I call an attraction of inspiration and there is a physical and romantic spark, cultivate that. Keep dating the person. And you may find that that number grows and grows. Now, some people say, “That number does not grow for me. If I’m not attracted to somebody intensely, it is never going to grow.”

    And that’s possible. But for most of us, those feelings absolutely can grow, and that’s the process of courting. Research also shows that most people who are in good relationships did not necessarily fall instantly in love. It’s something that develops over time.

    So yes, you want someone with whom there’s that full-bodied sense of physical connection, sexual connection, spiritual connection, and emotional connection. And that person may not feel like an 8, or 9, or 10 at first.

    Expert Advice on How to Cultivate Attractions of Inspiration

    They might feel like a 4, or a 5, or a 6. But in my podcast, and in my book, and in my online course, I talk about ways that you can cultivate and deepen those kinds of attractions and that experience of having someone who you’re turned on to, the sex is wonderful, and their goodness is so fabulous, their generosity is so fabulous, the goodness and the solidity of the love between you feel so good and they’re so kind of generally present and available.

    When those things blend together, it feels like your heart is bursting. It’s bursting not with this longy, achy, I can’t have, I want, but it’s bursting with a sense of goodness, and joy, and celebration and desire. That’s what we want.

    The last question is from Sophia. Sophia, so good to hear from you. I know you’ve asked a few questions before. I always love your questions. So you said, “Hey, Ken. I have a question for you about attractions of inspiration. I think I’ve met my first one, which is really exciting, after a lifetime of dating attractions of deprivation and I’m really excited.

    He’s great. He’s so kind and loving, and it all just feels so easy, and nice, and openhearted, and healthy. But I’m worried because I just don’t feel that physically attracted to him at all. I don’t know if that’s something that’s normal because it’s an attraction of inspiration, so it’s not as hot as an attraction of deprivation, or if it’s something that’s really not going to work for me long term. He’s shorter than me, which is just something that I really like dating men taller than me.”

    Expert Advice About the Shifting Journey

    “I don’t know. I’m just not that physically attracted. And I’m curious if you have any advice for me. Thank you so much.”

    Sophia, thank you so much for that. Such an important question. So the first thing I want to say is you do not have to date anyone because it seems like they’re a good person if you’re not sexually and romantically attracted. That’s like a kind of self-torture. That’s the first broad thing that I want to say.

    But I hear you say I don’t feel very physically attracted to him. So I guess the question there is, are you somewhat physically attracted to him? And if so, I’m going to talk about some techniques that can strengthen that attraction. If you’re not attracted at all and you have not been, what I would say to you, Sophia, celebrate, celebrate, celebrate that you are now shifting, but it’s a journey.

    We do not go from unhealthy patterns to really fabulous patterns right away. It’s a process. It’s like a giant ship that has to change direction in the ocean. It happens, but it really takes time. These are all signs of your field shifting. So I’m going to say the same thing to you, which is keep trying and keep looking if this person isn’t a match because you are shifting.

    It’s fabulous. It’s happening. The circuitry is beginning to shift, and it’s going to continue to shift. So three cheers for you for doing this deeper, richer work and experiencing that.

    So now, if there has been a spark, once again, if there hasn’t been a spark, you are not obligated. You are not obligated. Be friends with this person.

    Expert Advice on Dealing With Sparks

    Expert Advice on Dealing With Sparks
    Photographer: Aron Visuals | Source: Unsplash

    And conceivably, when the pressure comes off because you’re just friends, you might sexually start fantasizing about him, maybe not. But you do not have to because that kind of pressure just kills Eros. It really does. And I want to say this again to everybody who is interested in this deeper path. Just because someone is good, and decent, and kind, and available, and interested, if there just isn’t a spark, that’s really okay.

    You deserve to be with someone with whom there is a spark. So what about when there is some spark, but not really enough? Just a few suggestions. One, whatever that spark wants you to do, let yourself consider doing that, unless it’s kind of at a further level of sex than you have reached with this person. I’ll just give some examples.

    Let’s say all you want to do with this person, like “I like him. He’s cute. I’m not attracted to him in a really sexual way. But yet, I could see holding hands. I could see kissing. I could see cuddling. In fact, I would like those things,” then that’s what you do.

    And demand nothing more of yourself. You can let him know this is kind of all I want to do now. Let him. He’s an adult. He can deal with that. As long as you’re being honest and you don’t have to say, “I’m not sure if I’m interested in you.”

    You could just say, “I move slowly. I let things develop. And is that okay with you?” So let yourself do those things that feel good in those ways, even if they’re little things, and even if they’re sensual and not directly sexual.

    Expert Advice on Indulging in Wild, Sexy Fantasies

    Or maybe you don’t feel like you really want to commit to being sexual with this person, but you do have a couple of wild, sexy fantasies that you could imagine doing with them, which might be so far beyond where you would be really actually willing to go with him.

    But in your fantasy life, you might let yourself dream about that, and imagine that, and pleasure yourself, and think about that, and let those kind of tendrils of sexual interest develop in your fantasy life. So that’s something that you can do as well to develop connection.

    You do things with this person that are fun. If you’re pressuring yourself that you need to feel more, that’s going to hurt you, so back off. Give yourself space.

    Do things that are fun, even if you need to say to this person something like, “At this point, I’d like to be friends. It could be more in the future, but could we just be friends now?” So you allow yourself some space, but you take the pressure off yourself.

    These all different options that you could do. Let your Eros, let your romance, let those parts of you tell you what they want and what they don’t want. And listen and honor that whatever it is. These techniques will help you even if this guy is not the right guy. But once again, celebrate because your circuitry is shifting.

    So the last thing I want to say, and I want to say this to everyone who is listening, is that this is a journey of changing our deepest circuitry.

    Expert Advice on How to Develop a Deeper Sense of Self-Love

    As you learn the steps that I talk about in the online course, my book, these podcasts, you will actually begin to heal your life, your heart. You will develop a deeper sense of self-love, and you will be meeting people who are more appropriate for you, who are people who can treasure who you are.

    And you’ll be experiencing the challenges, the dilemmas, the struggles, and the beauties that happen when you meet somebody who can really be available for who you are, and it’s a kind of stepping stone journey.

    If you are seeing shifts in the ways that you approach your search for love, celebrate. And if you’re seeing shifts in the kind of people you’re magnetizing, triple and quadruple, celebrate, because that’s hard-won dating wisdom, and it’s real, and it’s going to shift your future.

    That’s why I truly do feel like this is a path of hope, of deep hope, and of healing. And the wiser path to love should be healing your life, healing your heart, and changing your circuitry around intimacy. If it’s not, it might be time for a deeper dive.

    Thank you all for listening. Write in. Call in. Go to Ask Ken because I want to hear your stories and your dilemmas so that I can share them with this community. So thank you all. And again, please do remember to leave a review if you like what you heard. And I’ll see you on the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast. Thank you.

  • How To Release Your Barriers To Love [EP060]

    What’s the great secret to release your barriers to love? It’s understanding specifically how they are protecting you! Armed with that knowledge, you’ll be able to “whisper” them down, sometimes more quickly than you ever might have imagined. In this episode, I’ll teach you some simple, life-changing techniques to help you learn the secret language of your own barriers to love, and to release them–starting right now.

    Table of Contents

    Episode Introduction: Barriers to Love

    Barriers To Love

    What do you do when you have a wall up in relation to love? Something that every single one of us experiences. In this episode, you’re going to learn the keys to be able to understand your personal walls against love and begin to transform them. So stay tuned to the Deeper Dating Podcast to learn more.

    Hello, and welcome to The Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page, and I’m a psychotherapist and the author of the bestselling book Deeper Dating. And today, in this episode, I’m going to talk about the second two stages in healing our walls against love, and I’ll catch you up as well on the first two stages of that process.

    Every week I’m going to share with you the greatest tools I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process. Because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love, and the skills of love are the greatest skills of all for a happy, meaningful life.

    And if you want to learn more about the Deeper Dating path to real intimacy, just go to deeperdatingpodcast.com. And if you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get free gifts and you’ll learn more about how to use these ideas to transform your own intimacy journey. You’ll also find a complete transcript of every episode.

    Subscribe and Leave Ken a Review

    Subscribe and Leave Ken a Review
    Leave Ken a Review

    I also just want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment for any condition. And if you’re experiencing any serious psychological or psychiatric conditions, please do seek professional help. And by the way, if you like what you’re learning here, it would be a tremendous thank you if you subscribed on Apple Podcast or elsewhere and left me a review. So thank you so much for that.

    So let’s jump in because this subject of our walls to love is one of the richest and most powerful ways for us to deepen our entire lives, find love, keep love alive, and have more and more of a sense of true meaning and deepest growth in our existence.

    Our walls are the meat and potatoes of our journey. Our walls and understanding those walls, and seeing how those walls are made up of us, and how we’ve had to build them to protect ourselves, and to learn the language of our walls, and to be able to change those patterns, bringing more compassion to ourself and to other people, well, that’s the real deal.

    It’s the real deal, and it’s what all of us should be striving toward in our lives.

    The Different Stages of Our Barriers to Love

    The Different Stages of Our Barriers to Love
    Photographer: Elijah O’Donnell | Source: Unsplash

    And when we do it, our worlds open up. And the feeling of our world’s opening up, even if it’s just a sense of a kind of heart-melting feeling of knowing that you didn’t treat somebody well enough and that you’re going to talk to them and let them know that you feel badly about that or that you understand something about someone that you hadn’t understood before or you make space for a part of yourself that you never were able to make space for before.

    And it’s when we can’t make space for parts of ourselves that we then have to create a wall because our deep psyche knows that our adult self is not going to be able to protect it in that arena. So let me talk about the first two stages, which I go into in greater detail in the last episode. Then I’m going to move into talking about the second two stages, the third and the fourth stage of this process of healing our walls to love. We’re going to go into those in more detail in this episode.

    The first stage is a state of kind of unconsciousness of our walls. It’s not just that the unaware people have that or the ignorant people. All of us have this. In fact, for me, it’s almost every day that I notice my walls to love in so many different ways. And usually, it’s kind of in the peace of my meditation time or in downtime that I have when I’m less revved up that I have this humbling experience of realizing that I dropped the ball or I missed a point to care about somebody.

    The Opposite of Unconsciousness

    And as I said, this happens for me mostly every day, and I treasure those experiences because I try to do something about them and then that helps my life and helps my relationships. But it is humbling, humbling how many things I miss, how many subtle push-aways I do without even knowing it.

    I just want to say that this unconscious state is something that all of us have, and the opposite of that unconsciousness is realization, a realization of if I did this I’d allow in more love. I’d accept this person more. I’d be braver in sharing who I am. So the first stage is one where we are just not aware of this yet. It’s a human stage, and I think we can always assume that we’re going to have parts of ourselves that are unaware.

    When we soften into ourselves more and more, and doing things like just listening to this podcast is going to help you soften your unconsciousness around your walls. My guess is that by the end of this podcast you will have a richer sense of what those walls might be and how to soothe, and heal, and transform them because it’s not rocket science. It’s deep. It’s powerful. It’s stuff that we don’t get taught, but it’s the simple tools of intimacy. So I’m very excited to talk about the third and the fourth steps in this episode.

    But the second step is the step where you become conscious of the ways that you push love away, and you’re also conscious of the fact that at this point you cannot necessarily really stop that. There’s a habitual quality to it. There’s a driven quality. There’s an entrenched quality.

    Befriending Our Barriers to Love

    And maybe you think, “Well, I’m just going to stop doing this,” and then you find again, and again, and again. For me, judgmentalness and irritation are two ongoing wall defenses that I have. And I tell myself every day that when I realize it, I could just stop. I’m just going to stop. But I can’t stop, and that’s not the way it works.

    Thich Nhat Hanh, one of my great heroes who is a Vietnamese monk who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King, and he speaks about this a lot.

    He says, ” We can’t get rid of our walls. We can’t get rid of our anger. We can’t get rid of our greed, our jealousy, our hate. We can befriend it.”

    And he really means that when he says it. And his monastics and the people who study his work make space for their walls. They make space for their anger. They learn how to do that. And I think that that’s a great, great thing.

    So that second step is that step of realizing “I have a wall”, and at this moment I can’t get rid of it. I can’t turn it into a door. I don’t know how to do that. I don’t have the tools to do it. I don’t have the capacity to do it. And here I am with this wall. But, I am seeing it, and that is a huge growth step.

    Now we’re going to move onto the third step, and the third step is being able to hold our wall places, our entrenched defense places, our walls against love with cupped hands.

    Holding Our Barriers to Love With Cupped Hands

    Holding Our Barriers to Love With Cupped Hands
    Photographer: Nathan Dumlao | Source: Unsplash

    This is an image that I use a lot, and you might want to try it right now. If you take your hands and you imagine holding something. So just imagine you’re holding, let’s say, a wooden ball, a wooden ball, a polished wooden ball. You’re holding it. And now take your hands and make them really, really flat, completely flat next to each other and open.

    And imagine holding the ball that way. Well, there’s really kind of no warmth to that way of holding the ball, but you’re holding it. Now imagine squeezing really hard and holding the ball that way. And that kind of hurts. That kind of hurts because you’re pressing up against it really hard and you’re squeezing.

    Now, imagine taking your hands and holding this ball with cupped hands. There’s a kind of feeling of love that comes from that cupped hands position, a feeling of holding something with space, but also tenderness. When we can do that with our walls, well, that’s like the human definition of amazing because there’s a humility that that takes. There’s an imperfection in that. But there’s a beauty, and a truth, and a bravery. And maybe most of all there’s a caring enough about love to be willing to admit this.

    So this third stage is a kind of holding our walls, when we feel them, with cupped hands. I’m going to say something about what the fourth stage is and then come back to kind of enriching the explanation of this third phase. The fourth stage is developing a language and a skill set around working with and understanding that wall. But that’s going to be … Well, we’ll get to that one.

    The Things That Came Make Us Numb

    We’ll get to that one in a minute, but I just wanted to say what that fourth stage is. In this stage, in this third stage of this holding with cupped hands, sometimes what the wall might be is the feeling of “I feel nothing.” That’s been a wall that has been really hard for me. That’s been a signature one of my walls that has caused me great guilt and pain and concern in my life is the “I feel nothing place.”

    I remember many years ago someone who I was in a relationship with was moving from another country to come and live with me. I was shopping with a friend for bed linens and all the things we needed, and this was a few day